With Apple’s first-ever gambit to co-release two new iPhones in the same year, one would have expected that the recent iPhone sales numbers would have once again smashed previous records. However, in a stunning reversal of expectations, Apple has posted a rare negative earnings report for its flagship smartphone, which in turn have sent Apple shares reeling in today’s trading (down 7.8% in active trading at the time of this writing).
According to an article on the Wall Street Journal, Apple “sold 51 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 28, up 7% from the year-ago period, after the company introduced two new models in September. Sales of iPhones, however, fell short of analysts’ expectations for 55 million units. In North America, iPhone sales fell, Mr. Cook said.” While it may be easy for consumers to forgive coming up short 4 million iPhones in sales expectations after managing to sell 51 million in the first fiscal quarter, Wall Street rewards the tea leaves on this sort of thing, and they see the failed iPhone sales as yet another sign that Apple may in fact be waning as product leader in the mobile market.
Now may not be the time for the tech community to hammer the nails into Cupertino’s coffin; after all, the company suffered humiliatingly bad products and performance in the marketplace before, only to emerge stronger, more creative, and more competitive. But that was back when they had a guy named Steve Jobs at the helm. Now, with the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook, shareholders and Apple enthusiasts alike are being treated to damage control messaging that sounds less like the inspired proclamations of an inspired visionary, and more like someone managing the decline. ”Our objective has always been to make the best, not the most,” said Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook on a conference call with analysts.
That statement is not only pathetic, it is also bullshit.
For the CEO of the largest, most solvent, most relevant consumer technology company on the planet to shrug his shoulders to investors and argue that Apple never thought itself as more than what amounts to a “boutique” company is an insult to all of our intelligences. And together, our intelligences are pretty average.
Apple’s object is to make — and sell — the most smartphones. In the past, they did so by making them the best. Now, they are clearly not the best. By all means, they are still premium smartphones, but techies are quick to point out that Apple stopped being thought leaders when it comes to mobile innovation, and they have balked at making truly low-cost mobile devices. I have argued since its launch that the iPhone 5C was a cynical product for Apple to release, designed to discontinue the better-valued iPhone 5 and essentially become a purposeful non-seller. With these new failed iPhone sales, I believe that my theory is proven true, since you cannot beat the Street’s estimates with follies like the 5C as part of your marketing strategy.
At some point, the rest of Appledom has to get behind me and the few others who aren’t afraid to say it: Tim Cook has to go. He has not done a good job with the company since he took over, beginning with Apple Maps and ending (so far) with the iPhone 5C.
But don’t worry: it won’t take a petition from us to get Tim cook out of the job. A couple more missed sales expectations and the apple Board of directors will send him packing in one fell swoop.