Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yet another finance post - @rahsheen weighs in on AAPL - MSFT valuation

For someone who admittedly isn't a financial expert, I seem to be talking a lot about it right now, between Islamic banking and long-term valuation of Google and Microsoft.

Well, this story also involves Microsoft, but first let me back up a bit.

You may recall a couple of months ago that the aggregate value of Apple (AAPL) stock exceeded the aggregate value of Microsoft (MSFT) stock. Analysis of this financial event ranged from reasoned, well-thought out responses to...well, to this:

I used a Mac before it was cool to use a Mac, and was picked on because of that. After all these years, I can claim victory. Everyone around me uses a Mac now.

Then all of the unpleasantness regarding the iPhone 4 antenna began to dominate the news. Throughout all of this, I didn't think to check Apple's stock price or valuation, since I didn't believe that this would affect Apple in the long term. But Rahsheen Porter was keeping an eye on it:

As this whole thing began to spin out of control, we saw Consumer Reports unable to recommend purchase of the device. This was despite that they say it’s the best smartphone available. Of course, if you can’t make calls with the phone, that’s kind of a big deal. Around the same time, Apple’s stock took a pretty steep dive.

Porter then takes the time to analyze why this change occurred, and notes the following:

  • The Apple iPhone 4 does not measure up to the "gold standard" set by its predecessor, the Apple iPhone 3GS.

  • Apple's tendency to do "whatever they've wanted" failed in this particular instance.

  • At the same time, Apple is perceived as concentrating on form above function, and is also perceived as being "annoyed by their customers."

  • Microsoft, meanwhile, is not doing "whatever they've wanted" and is listening to the market. Porter cites Microsoft's move in "integrating Office 2010 and Outlook with social media using Social Connector."

  • Oh, and Windows 7 is doing well.

Porter links to an Alex Wilhelm post at The Next Web, which notes one additional difference between the two companies:

Unlike Microsoft, which has a plethora of large businesses, Apple depends heavily on several consumer product lines. If one goes out of fashion, the company’s market value can tumble.

Now perhaps this is the precursor of a long-term decline in Apple's value. Or perhaps this is just a momentary blip in Apple's ascendancy over all other companies worldwide. In the meantime, however, no one nerd has triumphed yet.
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