Apple at $1Trillion: The Missing Theory

Jean-Louis Gassée wrote the missing theory of Apple at $1Trillion.

This is where we get into some intriguing comparisons. Microsoft’s P/E is a solid 48 and Alphabet’s hovers around 50…but Apple’s is a meager 17. Caricaturing just a bit: “Apple still trades like a steel mill going out of business.” In more sober words, investor actions say Microsoft’s or Alphabet’s future earnings per share are safer than Apple’s, hence the premium they’re willing to pay. With a P/E of 50, Apple’s Market Cap would approach $3T…

And, as he mentioned in the article, this is after Apple buying back more than $40 billion worth of shares. The buyback meant that Apple had to wait longer to hit the trillion mark.

The broad recognition accorded to last week’s milestone is a deserved mark of respect for Apple, a company that has so often been “misunderestimated” and given up for dead. So dead, in fact, that Michael Dell once recommended shutting down the company and giving the cash back to shareholders. Pundits and competitors constantly predict the death of the iPhone because “it’s the same closed system mistake as the Mac” or “modularity always wins!”. These death warrants were issued by prestigious academics and still carom around the blogosphere’s echo chamber.

Yet, years later, Apple continues to follow its heterodox path and to prosper as a result. There are two reactions to this annoying anomaly. One is to stick to one’s comfortable theories, books and speeches. “Just wait, Apple will meet its preordained fate. Sooner or later!”.

It is hard for Apple to shake off the doom and gloom that critics and pundits cast on it, even when the company is making a healthy profit. Other companies are making a loss or seeing their margins shrink drastically and yet still so loved and valued.

Apple becomes first US company to hit $1 trillion value

Bloomberg reported on Apple becoming first US Company to hit $1 trillion value.

Apple Inc. became the first U.S.-based company with a market value of $1 trillion, four decades after it was co-founded by Steve Jobs in a Silicon Valley garage and later revolutionized the worlds of computing, music and mobile communications.

Apple has came out ahead of Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft in the race to the trillion mark.

Apple was worth about $350 billion when Jobs died, so Cook has led the creation of even more stock-market value than his former boss and mentor. Bloomberg News asked him about the $1 trillion target in a February interview.

“I don’t really think about it,” he said, suggesting that if the company keeps making successful products, financial success will follow. “I still view Apple as a pretty small company, the way that we operate. I know it’s not numerically, but the way we function is very much like that.”

Focus on the products and consumers will appreciate it, even if some consumers lack the capacity to.

Everything bad about Facebook is bad for the same reason

Quartz wrote about [everything bad about Facebook is bad for the same reason(https://qz.com/1342757/everything-bad-about-facebook-is-bad-for-the-same-reason/).

It is true that Facebook rarely holds “ideological positions at odds with the community.” Since Facebook is banal, it typically lacks ideological positions about anything at all. The social-media platform has long tried to position itself as a bastion of neutrality, a platform for other people’s ideas, a passive conduit. When Swisher challenged Zuckerberg on allowing Sandy Hook deniers to spread their message, he said, “Look, as abhorrent as some of this content can be, I do think that it gets down to this principle of giving people a voice.”

But an organization with so much influence does not need to be ideologically opposed to society to cause harm. It only needs to stop thinking about humans, to feel comfortable dismissing religious violence, ethnic discrimination, hate speech, loneliness, age discrimination, and live-streamed death as “operational scaling issues.” To think of suicide as a “use case” for Facebook Live.

Recently I came across an Anti Islam page on Facebook. So, like every sensible person would, I reported the page to Facebook. Facebook customer service thanked me for taking the time to lodge the report but then goes on to say that the page doesn’t go against any of our specific Community Standards. It’s not the first time my reports about racists, discriminating and hateful posts have been ignored. Even reports about sham doctors dishing out false information and bad advice fell to deaf ears.

This sums up how toxic Facebook is.

People aren’t that into the Galaxy S9, Samsung’s earnings show

Hayley Tsukayama wrote for The Washington Post that people aren’t that into the Galaxy S9, Samsung’s earnings show.

The summer is always a bit quiet for smartphone makers as they prepare to launch new phones for the fall. But sales for Samsung were down even for the traditionally low-key quarter, as its flagship phones struggled to outshine the iPhone X and iPhone 8. Samsung’s mobile communications vice president, Lee Kyeong-Tae, acknowledged in an earnings call that sales of its flagship Galaxy S9 and S9+ had been “weaker than expected,” as his unit reported a 22 percent drop in sales revenue to $20.2 billion.

Not surprising.

Samsung’s anti-iPhone X ads show why it keeps losing to Apple

Rado Slavov wrote for PhoneArena about why Samsung keeps losing to Apple.

Instead, Samsung decided to focus on the negative marketing and go after its rival. What’s happening is Samsung is trying to play a finite game here – its objective is to win the battle of this smartphone generation, which comes at the expense of its own brand strength and integrity. Such unprovoked aggressive behavior is never typical of the winning side; it’s most often exhibited by the losing team, which, realizing that the final seconds of the match are ticking away, starts playing in a rough and desperate, pissed off way. After the confident Galaxy S8 launch, surely the missed expectations for this year’s Galaxy S9 have put some pressure on the consumer products team. But again, Samsung is not playing the game it should be playing, and its behavior is atypical for a gigantic tech company that’s supposedly a market leader and innovator.

Meanwhile, Apple is playing the infinite game – it’s not obsessing over a single battle; it’s playing to keep winning the war. Sometimes, it’s a little ahead; other times, it’s a little behind, but on average, it tends to consistently outperform its competitors in the long term, bringing in the big profits and leaving the rest of its competition to feast on the leftovers. It’s always focusing on what makes the iPhone product great, trying to make it better with each generation, and never compromising the integrity of its brand with cheesy, aggressive spots, or by cutting corners. As a result, all of us (even those who dislike Apple products) know what the Apple brand stands for. What does the Samsung brand stand for?

Samsung should be more concerned about other Android brands that are eating up its market share. Huawei has made massive gains and is now the second largest phone maker, and it targets the same market tiers as Samsung. Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are making strong showings as well.

Perhaps Samsung is still trying to make it seem like its biggest competitor is Apple, but it can only stick its head in the sand for so long.

The Bullshit Web

Nick Heer wrote about The Bullshit Web.

Great article. Must read if you are a web designer or web developer.

We should be making full use of modern technology to make the web better, not load it with junk.

How big is China’s tech industry?

Tech in Asia shared an infographic showing the scale of China’s tech industry..

This infographic will help you to visualise how staggering the tech industry is in China. A lot of friends often ask me but are unable to wrap their heads around the scale that China operates in. This might help.

European Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices

The European Commission released a statement on fining Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google’s search engine.

The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.

1. Illegal tying of Google’s search and browser apps

First, the tying of the Google Search app. As a result, Google has ensured that its Google Search app is pre-installed on practically all Android devices sold in the EEA. Search apps represent an important entry point for search queries on mobile devices. The Commission has found this tying conduct to be illegal as of 2011, which is the date Google became dominant in the market for app stores for the Android mobile operating system.

Second, the tying of the Google Chrome browser. As a result, Google has ensured that its mobile browser is pre-installed on practically all Android devices sold in the EEA. Browsers also represent an important entry point for search queries on mobile devices and Google Search is the default search engine on Google Chrome. The Commission found this tying conduct to be illegal as of 2012, which is the date from which Google has included the Chrome browser in its app bundle.

Google granted significant financial incentives to some of the largest device manufacturers as well as mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed Google Search across their entire portfolio of Android devices. This harmed competition by significantly reducing their incentives to pre-install competing search apps.

3. Illegal obstruction of development and distribution of competing Android operating systems

Google has prevented device manufacturers from using any alternative version of Android that was not approved by Google (Android forks). In order to be able to pre-install on their devices Google’s proprietary apps, including the Play Store and Google Search, manufacturers had to commit not to develop or sell even a single device running on an Android fork. The Commission found that this conduct was abusive as of 2011, which is the date Google became dominant in the market for app stores for the Android mobile operating system.

Would this reverse the damage done given how users are now conditioned to these settings and mobile manufacturers don’t have any decent OS alternatives to turn to?

Popular Science: ‘Do You Really Need to Properly Eject a USB Drive Before Yanking It Out?’

John Gruber wrote about the misleading Popular Science article: ‘Do You Really Need to Properly Eject a USB Drive Before Yanking It Out?’.

This is terrible advice. It’s akin to saying you probably don’t need to wear a seat belt because it’s unlikely anything bad will happen. Imagine a few dozen people saying they drive without a seat belt every day and nothing’s ever gone wrong, so it must be OK. (The breakdown in this analogy is that with seat belts, you know instantly when you need to be wearing one. With USB drives, you might not discover for months or years that you’ve got a corrupt file that was only partially written to disk when you yanked the drive.)

This is a great analogy.

I have another analogy that might reflect the undiscovered effect of yanking out USB drives: smoking cigarettes. People will tell you they have friends or parents that smoke and go on to live long without ever suffering as a results of their smoking habit. So they believe that it is perfectly safe to smoke. You might not discover for months or years that you are suffering from the harmful effects of smoking such as “corrupted” lungs.

Always safely eject your media drives before removing it. I speak from experience having lost files through disconnections when I had a loose USB cable, USB plug not fully inserted and then it fell out, and when the dog yanked the cable out accidentally. I was not actively reading from or writing to the drives but files were still corrupted. Imagine the data loss if the drives were in use.

Again, it is sad to see how people would cling on to false articles to strengthen their mistaken beliefs.

China’s mobile payment platforms are transforming online marketing

Masha Borak wrote on TechNode about China’s mobile payment platforms transforming online marketing.

“The most basic type of interaction is to invite customers to follow the brand’s official WeChat account to get notifications for their order,” Graziani told TechNode.

Another is to automatically enroll customers in a group purchase, he added. Users share their purchase with friends on social media and get a discount in return. For brands, this can be a way to create some additional viral engagement.

Many vendors get the consumers to do the marketing to drive sales via gift cards or coupons. Another way is to offer a discount coupon if the consumer follow the brand’s official WeChat account. This allows the brand to send notifications about promotions or give consumers more discount coupons to lure them back to make purchases. These aren’t new marketing tactics, but the use of WeChat to make it as seamless and minimise friction increases the appeal to the consumers.

It’s become a habit for me to check for Meituan or Koubei promotions when ordering at restaurants and during payment.

The trend is especially popular among restaurants, which are CJI’s main customers. Some restaurants are giving up entirely on the concept of the classical paper menu. To place an order, guests scan a QR code that leads them to an online menu where they pick their favorite dishes and pay with the mobile payment app of their choice.

This is becoming increasingly common. All of the restaurants I’ve been to in the past two months have QR code stickers on each table for ordering and payment. Instead of trying to get the attention of a busy wait staff during peak periods, we order with our smartphones. Likewise when it comes to paying the bill. Cheaper and faster. Attractive incentives for the consumers.