Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Golden Apple

(By Richard Holway Tuesday 20th Oct 09) I bought Apple shares in 2002 at $10 and saw my investment soar. As HotViews readers can easily verify from the archives, I sold half my holding in Dec 2007 when they hit $203. I then congratulated myself at how clever I was as they plunged to $80.

Problem was I didn’t then buy again.

So here I am today on the one hand glorying in the fact that Apple, last night in after hours trading, hit an all time high of $204 but kicking myself for only having half the Apple holding I had two years back!

It is difficult to find the right words to describe Apple’s wonderous Q4 (to 30th Sept 09) results last night as they blew expectations out of the water. Profits up 47% at $1.67b is one thing but a 25% rise in revenues to $9.87b in one of the worst consumer recessions on record, is quite another. It was almost ‘across the board’ with iPhone sales up 7% at 7.4m units (‘demand is outstripping supply in most countries’), though total iPod sales were down 8% at 10.2m units (is there anyone left who doesn’t have one?) but iPod Touch sales doubled. This has what many call the ‘halo effect’ as Apple Mac sales jumped 7% to 3.05m. Again this against a falling market in top-spec PCs.

"The future (as we should now say) looks Apple" too. The iPhone is gaining acceptance in the corporate world with over 50% of Fortune 500 companies now using the device in some way – really bad news for RIM. The iPhone launches in China this quarter. The launch of Windows 7 this week might just tip even more down the Apple Mac route – well, if you have to reload all your programs to install Windows 7 on an old XP PC, why not buy a Mac and save yourself the hassle? I can see the advert already! Steve Jobs promised “some really good new products for 2010” when the world and Holway expects the game-changing iTablet.

Apple is one amazing story. In 1983, whilst Group Marketing Director at Hoskyns (now Capgemini), I was given a pre-release Lisa for the weekend. It literally changed my life. There is no other technology brand that has given me so much joy in the last 25 years as Apple. The fact that Apple shares have made me a tidy return too just helps the warm feeling!

Last week I wrote the post Recovery? I warned readers yet again that downturns accelerate change with some companies doing very well and others failing. Add Apple to the Google and Intel list of those doing very well in bad times. But don’t read from Apple an end to tech recession and/or recovery.

There are precious few ‘Apples’ - just ‘Enjoy’.

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