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Apple - What A Difference Eight Years Can Make

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the company-with-a-tight-turning-radius dept.

Businesses 580

conq writes "It's been eight years since Michael Dell was asked after a speech at a Gartner conference in Orlando what he would do if he were in charge of Apple Computer. His answer: Shut the company down and give the money back to shareholders. BusinessWeek in its new Byte of The Apple Blog looks at how the tables have turned since then. For example, over the last four quarters Dell has been coming in with a net profit margin of about 6.5%. Meanwhile Apple just finished its fiscal 2005 with a profit margin just shy of 9.6%."

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580 comments

Apples to Apples (5, Funny)

erick99 (743982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952540)

Micheal Dell would have been smarter had he reserved judgement. Arrogance can sure come back 'round and bite you in the ass. In terms of profit margin one has to consider that Dell is bringing in revenue of around 14 billion a quarter versus Apple's 4 billion so I am not sure how to judge the differences in profit margin given the difference in revenue. Dell probably has a great deal more infrastructure. Oh, well. Just saying we should make sure we are comparing Apples to Apples (funny, huh?).

Re:Apples to Apples (5, Insightful)

TimmyDee (713324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952612)

True, but in terms of a financial future, Apple's is certainly brighter in spite of their smaller market cap. Dell's business model inherently undercuts its financial stability. In order to stay competitive, they need to continue to cut costs. Pretty soon, cutting costs comes at the expense of things like customer service, R&D, and other things that are required to maintain a viable, growing business.

Apple has certainly come a long way since then. I think it's safe to say that we are comparing Apples to Apples in this case, since Apple was on the track to commoditization in the mid to late 1990s. However, when Jobs took over, they made a conscious decision to move away from commoditization and towards innovation as their primary driving force. What I think we're seeing here is the results of that decision. Had Apple continued down the path they had set out during Spindler/Amelio, they would have ended up like Dell -- perhaps a larger market share in the short term, but a much more dismal future outlook. Instead, they are a vibrant company that has great promise to grow its market share in a far more sustainable fashion.

Re:Apples to Apples (1)

kaan (88626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952655)

You're right, percentages don't matter much until you know the initial totals. So 6% of 14 billion is obviously way, way more than %9 of 4 billion. But that's only revenue, not profit.

So how much of Dell's 14 and Apple's 4 billion is profit? How much goes to operating expenses? It is widely known that one of Apple's biggest profit generators is the iPod product line (and not iTunes Music Store). Given that they're selling million and millions of these things, this suggests Apple's profits (not revenues) might be pretty good.

I don't know how many employees either company has, but here in Austin, Dell pretty much employs an entire suburb's worth of people. That can't be cheap, and it's definitely not the only big branch of Dell employees.

Re:Apples to Apples (1)

keyrat rafa (856668) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952662)

Just saying we should make sure we are comparing Apples to Apples (funny, huh?).


no, apparently insightfull.

Re:Apples to Apples (1)

dsginter (104154) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952696)

At the time, Michael Dell was right on - Apple was an uninspiring company that lacked an innovative and compelling product. But now the tables have turned and Dell is the company that now sells these uninspiring products. Sure, Dell is still profitable, but everyone knows [yahoo.com] that one can't rest on their laurels in a market like this - there needs to be continuous innovation.

What's to keep Dell from "pulling an Apple" and investing their own cash into a Unix-based operating system and otherwise innovative products? They could do it, but they are afraid to take the risk. They need to be backed into a corner before that can happen. There's been a rumor that Apple could license their OSX for Intel to companies like Dell. I'd previously been an advocate of this since it is my current opinion that I will never buy Apple's overpriced, proprietary hardware BUT... I think that Dell will ultimately find themselves backed into this corner and a battle of innovation will be the result.

Maybe they'll even use AMD processors, for a change (though I still think that Intel has an ace up their sleeve). Regardless, the next five years should be interesting to watch.

Re:Apples to Apples (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952766)

Dell is the company that now sells these uninspiring products.
Those 24 and 20 inch LCD's are freaking awesome for the price. Dell just had a sale on a dual core 2.8ghz demension 9100 and 24inch lcd for 1199. (after 100 dollar rebate).

Re:Apples to Apples (2, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952780)

I'd previously been an advocate of this since it is my current opinion that I will never buy Apple's overpriced, proprietary hardware BUT... ... you will buy overpriced, proprietary hardware if it says "DELL" on the front with that slanty "E"?

The more I use my Dell Latitude in the office, the more I appreciate how much my iBook is worth every penny I spent on it. YMMV, obviously.

Re:Apples to Apples (1, Interesting)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952781)

In what sense is Apple hardware proprietary? Or overpriced for that matter. Specific examples, please.

I'm looking at my iBook and with the exception of the airport not seeing a single component that is proprietary. I can put at least two OSS OSen on it. OpenBSD will work without flaw. Linux can drive everything but the airport but that's not due to not having specs.

Overpriced is another question but I'm not going to go there since so many IT types seem to not understand that great tools are well worth paying for.

Brown Apples ... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952717)

There seems to be an endless need in the Apple Kingdom to reaffirm their decisions by finding like-minded acceptance.
Apple users read reviews on Apple Computers, for instance, after they bought their computer just to
reassure themselves that they made the right decision. When they read a bad things about or criticism of Apple,
they get mad.

This continues to happen decade after decade. Insecurity seems to be pandemic among Macphiles.
This phenomenon is the only thing that explains Mac users still getting so adamant.
If Apple had 90 percent market share you wouldn't hear a peep out of Mac users, since the
market itself would have given them the affirmation they need.

Mac users style themselves as non-conformists; in reality, they insecure and utterly intolerant.

Notice how they mod down reasonable criticism around here.

Re:Brown Apples ... (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952746)

The fact is that Apple is still around despite the idiotic pronouncements of a decade ago. Apple has shaped the computing landscape, and while it's still a small player, in the last few years it has done some pretty darn impressive things.

Could have been lucid advice at the time.. (1, Redundant)

Nijika (525558) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952542)

Apple then vs. Apple now, the difference is night and day.

Re:Could have been lucid advice at the time.. (5, Insightful)

drhamad (868567) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952620)

If everyone followed what something looks like at the time, because of their fiscal or market share position, all the PC companies should have shut down in the face of IBM, or even before that IBM should have not started a PC division because Apple ruled that world. TWA should have sold out to Pan Am. Torvalds should have joined Microsoft. T-Mobil would fold up in the face of Verizon. The Bell's would never have formed Cingular.
etc etc.

If "lucid advice" just means /;the company looks like it's doing badly," we'd never have half the innovations or companies of the world.

What was the total profit for those quarters? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952547)

6% versus 9% sounds good, but how much actual profit are we talking? 9% of chump change is worse than 6% of real money.

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952588)

Really? So you would rather own shares in a big company that returns you 6% on your investment, than own shares in a small one that returns 9%?

I think you might want to re-think that.

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952632)

Profit margin is NOT the same as return on investment. Not even remotely close. Profit margin in only half the equation in profitability (Wal-Mart has a very low profit margin, but due to volume is one of the most profitable companies). And profit margins are only part of the equation of return on investment (ROI). ROI is the profit divided by capitalization.

You might want to re-think.

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (2, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952713)

Oh, you want to talk about ROI? Let's look at how the value of Apple's share has moved in contrast with Dell and their ilk:

http://www.itmanagersjournal.com/blob.pl?id=424489 9e4e6356c1df1ec7b8b67d8578 [itmanagersjournal.com]

pwned.

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (1)

plantman-the-womb-st (776722) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952759)

The chart you linked to seems to show that Apple is completely hosing their competition. Or am I reading that wrong?

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952786)

Try following the thread. The gp was equating margin with ROI. Two different concepts entirely.

And despite your brilliant usage of the word 'pwned', I have to take exception with your analysis. You conveniently use a 1-year chart. Try a 10 year chart, and you will see Dell kicking the crap out of Apple.

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952804)

Try following the thread. The gp was equating margin with ROI. Two different concepts entirely.

Yes, but both are concepts which favor AAPL over DELL at the moment.

You conveniently use a 1-year chart.

Because we are discussing recent performance. RTFA.

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (2, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952816)

The comments made were from eight years ago. If you are trying to do an analysis on whether the comments were correct or not, you'd have to look at eight years... not one.

Try again.

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952642)

What's important is ROI not the actual monetary amount. In that case, percentage is much more important to an investor/stockholder.

Re:What was the total profit for those quarters? (1)

LexNaturalis (895838) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952653)

Dell made, in the Quarter ending 29 July 2005, $1,020,000,000 in Net Profit (Source [yahoo.com] ), whereas Apple made, in the Quarter ending 25 July 2005, $320,000,000 in Net Profit (Source [yahoo.com] ).

So yes, Dell still made considerably more money than Apple, but it does go to show that Apple has made a remarkable turnaround and is now more profitable (by percentages, not real dollars) than Dell. Another interesting note is that Dell has had a ~20% increase in profit over 4 quarters, whereas Apple has more than tripled their net profit in 4 quarters.

R&D (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952548)

Fundamentally, Apple Computer has invested in research and development and has come out with revolutionary products that functionally make things easier while Dell has simply operated as a reseller and box builder. Where is the innovation coming out of Dell?

Although I just yesterday placed an order for two $379 commodity boxes from Dell that I will run headless behind OS X boxes for security reasons, almost all of our purchases have been going to Apple. From the Mac Mini to iMacs to dual G5s with 30in Cinema Displays, Apple has been building systems around an operating system, OS X that meets our needs. In addition, the security issues make them easier to administrate, freeing up time to get work done that we are actually interested in.

Re:R&D (1)

PsychoSid (683168) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952614)

The innovation that has come out of Dell is to sell cheap shite which is customised to an extent in that you can exchange one shite part for another without the need to talk to some uninformed goon in a strip-lighted shop somewhere.

My mother just looks at there adds that says you can buy a computer with a "new" flat screen with some printer for £499.

It never occurs to her that it is cheap shite and the printers they give away charge 25 quid for a cartridge every 10 minutes.

Its against the Geneva convention (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952629)

"[...]make them easier to administrate"

You've taken the english language and tortured it to within an inch of its life.

I think the word you're looking for is:
      ADMINISTER

You're welcome!

Re:R&D (1)

AndyG314 (760442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952637)

Dell is more inovative than you might think. They might not have invented technology, but they streamlined it's production and sale, lowering the cost and making it easer for mass market.

Re:R&D (2, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952669)

Why does there always have to be innovation? Dell is Walmart - stack it high, sell it cheap and make profits in the process, wheres the need for innovation in that? Let others spend the money to do that, when theyve perfected what the market wants, you step it and do it a billion times with better margins.

Re:R&D ??? (0, Flamebait)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952762)

Wow! 5 insightful? Looks like a few people drifted into the reality distortion field.

has come out with revolutionary products
Sorry, no. What they have done is put far more marketing muscle behind products that may/not work better and certainly suffer from a usual amount of manufacturing/planning problems.

that functionally make things easier
I have to agree with you here to a certain degree. But

Dell has simply operated as a reseller and box builder
Yes, once upon a time they did well going direct. They never really offer leading edge anything. They wait for a market segment to develop and define, then enter at a lower price. Innovation is for other brands you don't quote off the top of your head.

I like Apples too. I just got my neighbor to buy one.

Re:R&D (4, Interesting)

brkello (642429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952763)

You know, there are different types of innovation. I just attended MILCOM and one of the guest speakers was talking about innovation and they listed both Apple and Dell. What did Dell do? They innovated the process of purchasing and distributing a PC. They are able to offer lower prices and make PCs accessible to a greater number of people. You may not think that type of innovation is as important as Apple's...but really, Apple didn't do anything technically innovative. They are innovative in design and user interfaces that appeal to the masses.

Comparing Apple to Dell is comparing apples to oranges. Saying one company is more innovative than another is just plain silly. They have totally different business models. Then trying to back up your opinion by saying your organization is buying more Apples than Dells is totally irrelevant. Who cares? I really don't get the emotional attachment to tools. Apple systems are a tool. PCs are a tool. Just like any tool, there is a right tool for the job.

Re:R&D (2, Insightful)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952811)

...Dell has simply operated as a reseller and box builder. Where is the innovation coming out of Dell?

That is exactly where Dell's innovation lies: in being able to produce on the fly boxes in large or small volumes customized to the user's designs at a very low cost. Their innovation is in logistics and supply chain, not necessarily computing technology. Still, it is a genuine innovation, and one that has made them piles of cash.

yay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952554)

first post!@ dell sucks, apple rocks

Michael Dell is really crying (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952556)

For example, over the last four quarters Dell has been coming in with a net profit margin of about 6.5%. Meanwhile Apple just finished its fiscal 2005 with a profit margin just shy of 9.6%."

As a wise man once said to me about allowing investors in my company, "Would your rather have all of a grape or a slice of watermelon?"

Re:Michael Dell is really crying (0, Offtopic)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952635)

As a wise man once said to me about allowing investors in my company, "Would your rather have all of a grape or a slice of watermelon?"

If your slice of the watermelon is smaller than a grape, his advice is useless.

Was that really so wise? (2, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952657)

I might actually say not.... The slice of watermelon requires a lot more work to eat. All those seeds to remove, and a messy outer skin you're left with afterwards too. The grape = instant enjoyment.

So too, it is with Apple. They might always just be a "niche company" compared to the PC/Windows market, but millions in profit is still millions in profit - and heading up a company you can truly be proud of can mean a LOT more than even more millions in profit on your ledger sheet.

As it was recently pointed out with portable MP3 players, how "cool" and "stylish" or "trendy" is it right now to wear around a player with a big, blue DELL logo stamped on the front of it? Compare that to carrying around an Apple iPod. Apple has achieved something no other computer company has ever really achieved -- the ability to make computers and technology "hip" instead of "nerdy/geeky/dorky".

So no, Michael Dell isn't "crying". He has one of the most successful businesses around mass-producing PCs as commodity items at as low a price as possible. But if I could be another Micahel Dell or another Steve Jobs, I'd have to pick Jobs. His company actually does R&D, experiments with possible product ideas just for the sake of seeing how they work out, and he still has time to head up Pixar - a company creatively doing very fun AND profitable things with computers.

Re:Michael Dell is really crying (1)

panth0r (722550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952688)

What kind of grape and what kind of watermelon? Let's take a look at this, though. Yes, Dell is still making more money than Apple, but let's talk relitively. Apple's PC base isn't nearly as large as Dell's, henceforth, Apple makes fewer computers and spends less money, also. Both are reputable companies, but (currently) fiscally, Apple is having a greater amount of success. It's really easier to look at in terms of fractions. In this end, as a business, Apple is having a greater amount of success then Dell.

Apple is dying! (5, Funny)

Generic Guy (678542) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952561)

With Dell's recent quarters slipping and Apple's recent quarters showing growth there can only be one conclusion:

Apple is dying!

Profit Margins (0, Troll)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952565)

Sure, Dell may have lower profit margins, but I can bet you their actual profit amount is much higher, as they probably have way more volume than apple. All this means is that apple is overcharging for its products. If I see 1 object for 200% of what it costs to make it, than my profit margin is quite high. However, i've only sold 1 product, and haven't managed to make very much money.

Re:Profit Margins (3, Funny)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952649)

You can't conceive that perhaps Apple isn't over-charging, but that Apple offers more value (that is consequently worth more money) than Dell?

Case in point: A soda costs $0.05 at Taco Bell. It costs you $0.99.

Yet how much value is there for you in:
1) Lugging around syrup
2) CO2 canisters
3) Mixing equipment

Myself, I drink water, but the point stands: If Apple offers more value, Apple can effectively price higher and not be over-charging.

Another example would be the $0.99 burger at Wendy's. In raw part it would cost you only $0.25
Do you want to lug around a fridge, fresh lettuce, a package of buns, a grill, ground beef, and cheese whenever you feel like eating a burger for lunch?

Re:Profit Margins (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952689)

All this means is that apple is overcharging for its products.

What it means is that Apple is adding more value to the products between the time they come in the loading dock and the time they go off the shelves. Otherwise people wouldn't be willing to pay those higher prices.

After all, what's Dell's added value? Why would you buy a Dell rather than an HP or a Lenovo or a generic white box? Because it's better? Because you get something with a Dell you don't get with anything else? Can you conceive of anything that would make you willing to pay even 10% more for a Dell than for a comparable HP?

If ANY computer manufacturer is able to charge more for a comparable product than another, then there's something in their product that makes it worth more to the people who are buying it.

What do you suppose that is?

Re:Profit Margins (1)

midifarm (666278) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952797)

If they're posting 9% profit on their boxen, I wouldn't exactly call that overcharging. Try running your own business at 9% profit and see how long you'll be in business.

Re:Profit Margins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952806)

You don't understand profit margin. The example you give would only have a profit margin of 50%. Profit margin (as percent) is defined:

Profit(after tax) / Expenses * 100%

Therefore, if apple has a margin of 10%, they are making 10% (after tax) over their expenses. Therefore their boxes are marked up 10%. Their boxes are expensive to make, that's why the price is high.

Which would you rather? (4, Interesting)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952567)

I'd rather have 6% of a huge number than 9% of a large number.

No seriously, Dell is an amazing company when you consider they are competing in one of the most cutthroat market segments in high tech. IBM sold the last bits of their PC business a few months ago. Gateway is now pretty much irrelevant... even the Japanese titans can't compete with Dell.

Re:Which would you rather? (1)

midifarm (666278) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952777)

The first step in the demise of Gateway was to start selling plasma screens. Dell started selling them not too long ago.

Can anyone tell me... (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952575)

Not being economically savvy, how much of a difference is 3% really?

(Like... in TV ratings, one point is a big deal. I honestly don't know how important 3% is in economic terms.)

Re:Can anyone tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952602)

Its realative to their total sales figure, not fixed to a total audience share as in ratings.

Re:Can anyone tell me... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952607)

In this case? About -10 billion dollars. Apple's 9% is of a much smaller pie then Dell's 6%.

-Rick

Glad to see Apple turned around... (2, Interesting)

RandoX (828285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952595)

Although I've never owned an Apple Computer myself (just an iPod), I remember playing on a friend's Mac when I was younger and felt sad to see the company in trouble. It's nice to see a company turn around and become profitable again. Probably human nature to root for the underdog, but anything that stimulates competition and consumer choice can't be all bad either.

Re:Glad to see Apple turned around... (2, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952719)

It is nice to see a comment like this from a non-Mac user. I can't help but think that more choices are better and that's why I've always been so baffled by folks who root for Apple to go out of business.

I only use Macs, and I was sorry to see the Amiga come to a bad end. I was sorry that Be didn't make it. I applaud when Linux makes gains. I don't wish for Windows to disappear.

Ha, Ha! (1)

Ctrl+Alt+De1337 (837964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952597)

"Byte of the Apple" - That's so clever! I never would have thought of replacing bite with the homonym byte when talking about computer-related things. It must be what, 1994 now?
/sarcasm

But seriously, when about 50% of each iPod is profit, and they sell more of those than anything else, is it surprising? Dell is competing towards the bottom, it seems, with their mostly cut-rate PCs (XPS excluded) whereas Apple seems to be competing towards the top where the premium prices - and profits - are. Didn't they want to be the BMW of computers? Mission accomplished.

Re:Ha, Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952817)

"Byte of the Apple" - That's so clever! I never would have thought of replacing bite with the homonym byte when talking about computer-related things. It must be what, 1994 now?

Maybe you first heard that joke in 1994, but it was ancient by then. It was old when I first heard it in 1976.

Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (1, Insightful)

Ikn (712788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952598)

Not everyone is content with the same uniform workstation at home that they have to use at work / school. People used to be content with their stock Civic too, but F&F came out and people realized their vehicle could reflect their personal expression; Apple is going to do the same thing, albeit more slowly, with the PC market.* There may be a whole market of grandmothers out there willing to drop $700 for something for e-mail, but there are many more young IT and graphic design people willing to drop $2500+ for a Powermac w/ studio display. Innovation and creativity -do- matter; learn the lesson now. *F&F and Civics used purely for example, please do not flame talking about how lame a Civic with a coffee can exhaust is, we all know it. Thanks so much.

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952615)

And even more young IT and graphic design people willing to drop $200 on an iPod....

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (1)

Ikn (712788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952626)

A very good point, and one that I completely overlooked; you're absolutely right. Throw the success of the iPod and iTunes, including the new video versions into the mix, and it just looks better and better.

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952664)

An interesting question would be, are Apple, and to a much greater extent, Dell, competing in a dying market? Given the possibility that the PC as we know it may go the way of the Dodo in the next decade or so?

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (1)

Ikn (712788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952706)

If we assume 'yes', then the even MORE interesting question becomes: which company has the better chance of adapting and surviving? I think we all know the answer to that.

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (2, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952694)

" Not everyone is content with the same uniform workstation at home that they have to use at work / school."

Err hello, Macs historicly where completely homogenized, there was only 1 producer (Apple) and only 1 case style. Even now, sure, you can get a different color plastic bit, but all Macs in their product line will have the same case.

I don't understand why so many people are anti-microsoft and pro-apple. Apple is just as evil as Microsoft, just not as successful.

-Rick

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952701)

Civic lame?? Thats an understatement.

I am in the unfortunate position of owning a 91 civic with 170k miles with lots and lots of problems. Well it does run... sort of.

Now the paint coming off, the bubbling tint, no a/c that doesn't keep breaking down, no stereo, strange noises when you tap on the brakes, several strut replacements in only 30k miles, windows work sometimes, transmission does weird things and you have to tap the accelerator to the max for to actually change gears... sigh

My gf is right sell that fucking thing and never buy a civic again.

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (2, Informative)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952776)

I feel compelled at this juncture to point out that your Civic has 170,000 miles on it.

My last car was a Ford Taurus. A bad fitting caused the radiator hose to pop off one day, which caused all the coolant to drain out, which caused the engine to completely overheat in fairly short order. Result: a few weeks later, the head gasket went. It would have cost about a thousand bucks to repair. That car had just shy of 100K miles on it.

170K suddenly doesn't sound so bad.

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (1)

eqkivaro (721746) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952721)

I'm not going to flame you about Civics. I'd only mention that the Import tuner community has been doing their thing for more than a decade.

And I'm not sure how many young IT professionals are dropping $2500 on a Mac, when they could build or buy a comparable PC for a lot less. Young IT professionals don't get paid as well as they did 5 years ago.

Re:Got some bad news for you Mr. Dell... (1)

Ikn (712788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952749)

I know, but it didn't really become the phenomenon as we now know it, at least not in -my- opinion until F&F came out. And I don't have anything against a well-tuned car, be it a Civic or a Mustang or whatever, but I figured mentioning Civics / F&F would detract from the point I was trying to make unless I threw my little disclaimer on there. So, no offense intended towards Civics / imports.

Not Apple Computers (0, Flamebait)

eqkivaro (721746) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952600)

Apple computers are not selling well. Apple's turnaround is all about the iPod

Re:Not Apple Computers (1)

antibryce (124264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952702)


Do you have any numbers to back that up? My understanding is that the iMacs and laptops are flying off the shelves. The towers aren't selling like crazy but they aren't meant to.

Just looking around campus there's probably at least 50x more students with powerbooks/ibooks than 2 years ago.

Re:Not Apple Computers (1)

WMD_88 (843388) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952729)

Apple is selling more computers this year over last year, so those are doing rather well too.

Re:Not Apple Computers (1)

mbaudis (585035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952778)

maybe not as numerous as dell, but better and better:

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/051011/sftu144.html?.v =14 [yahoo.com]

so, it is not just ipod (which may drive mac sales, though).

btw.: anyone thinking apple is expensive just should have a look at the "sale" section on their site. i just bough an 2GHz/17" widescreen/160GB/512MB/DL DVD-RW for $949. I assume it will be no "refurbished" unit, but just a retail channel clean up ...

Re:Not Apple Computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952793)

Uh - wrong. Their computers have shown year over year growth, all this when people thought the Intel announcement would kill sales until the transition happened in 2006. Their marketshare has increased 43% in just one year. Read up on the facts before you make a blatantly wrong statement.

Re:Not Apple Computers (2, Informative)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952809)

That's not true at all. Apple's last earnings report showed a 47% increase over last year in Macintosh sales. While that's not quite as impressive as the nearly 200% increase they showed in iPod sales, it's still incredibly good, especially when you compare that to the computer manufacturer growth rates and take into account the coming transition to Intel.

This isn't news... (1, Insightful)

PhatboySlim (862704) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952603)

Is it really a surprise if a CEO which sells PC systems and competes with Apple computer sales says he thinks they should get out of the game? Bill Gates would have said the same thing from the OS standpoint.

If he said anything else he would be criticizing his own company. Give me a break...

my next machine is a Mac (1)

boxlight (928484) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952608)

I went to Future Shop today and they had the recently discontinue 20" LCD iMac for $1699 CAD (was $2199 CAD). Almost bought it, but it was the display model and I'd want my Apple fresh.

I'm tired of Windows -- after 15 years of PCs, they no longer excite me. My next machine will definately be a Mac -- either a Mac Mini or iMac -- just going to wait and see how the Intel thing affects their new products in 2006.

Boxlight

It's official; Apple Computer is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952609)

It's official; Apple Computer is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Apple community when IDC confirmed that Apple market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all computers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that OS/X has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Apple is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Nostradamus to predict Apple's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Apple faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Apple because Apple is dying. Things are looking very bad for Apple. As many of us are already aware, OS/X continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

Apple's computer division is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Mac developers serves to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: OS/X is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Apple leader Steve states that there are millions of OS/X users. How many users of Windows are there? How many "real unix" users are there? Let's face it, Apple is now a flash-in-the-pan music player company, not a serious computer company. Apple is carefully exiting the commodities markets and re-affirming their strength in the fashion market.

Due to the troubles of Safari and Cocoa apps in general, abysmal sales and so on, Apple is going out of business and will probably be taken over by IBM who sell another troubled OS. Now Apple is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Apple has steadily declined in market share. Apple is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If OS/X is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. OS/X continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, OS/X is dead.

Fact: Apple Computer is dying

Jobs on the horizon... (1, Interesting)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952618)

Apple just finished its fiscal 2005 with a profit margin just shy of 9.6%.

A knowledgeable personal acquaintance (a mutual-fund manager) once told me never to pick a stock on the basis of its CEO, because the guy's (/gal's) potential is always factored into the share-price. I guess that rule still makes sense, but, for those seeking exceptions, Steve Jobs does seem a good place to start...

He may have been right anyway. (3, Insightful)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952619)

It may sound arrogant, but it's entirely possible that Mr. Dell really had it right -- Apple's making 9.6% profit margins today, but certainly hasn't for that entire eight years. The real question isn't "how well is Apple doing right now?", but "would the stockholders be better off if they'd invested elsewhere?"

At the same time, the fact is that most stockholders are reasonably intelligent adults, and (IMO) it's perfectly fine that it's been left up to them to decide to keep their money there instead of investing elsewhere. If the investors had all agreed with Michael Dell, Apple would simply be gone -- or perhaps, like SGI, being de-listed for having too low of a stock price.

--
The universe is a figment of its own imagination.

Re:He may have been right anyway. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952720)

The real question isn't "how well is Apple doing right now?", but "would the stockholders be better off if they'd invested elsewhere?"

Possibly, but they wouldn't have been better off if they'd invested in Dell.

Apple has diversified nicely (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952636)

Apple is moving more quickly towards a more diversified product line and has done so by bringing out some interesting and exciting products, but before anyone gets too excited, the bulk of their super profits over the last year has been largely due to the iPod. If they follow-up with another great product, they'll have a pretty secure future. However, if they can't follow iPods act with something just as (or close to) exciting, it's a short slide back. Dell's efforts to diversify into TVs and the like, has so far left a lot to be desired. On the other hand, they're not dead yet.

Apple will outlive Dell (1, Insightful)

acvh (120205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952647)

How many PC clone manufacturers have come and gone in the time that Apple has been making computers? Hell, even IBM and Compaq are gone. Dell is trying desperately to become more than a PC clone maker - selling TVs and home theater equipment now, but I have serious doubts on the long term viability of that strategy. Not that Dell hasn't been a great story - it has been - but as far as innovation, creativity, adapting to and creating new markets, Apple wins hands down.

Stock market is flawed (3, Interesting)

imag0 (605684) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952648)

If you think about it, the stock market does not award companies for doing well, maintaining a good fiscal outlook and treating it's employees good, it awards companies that grow. What happens whenever a company has utterly grown itself so large that there's really no room to go anywhere (ala Microsoft)?

Sure, it's a treadmill that everyone wants to get on, but it wears down and kills all but the strongest. Not to be outdone, it drives competing companies against one another to the point that now, a little over a hundred years later, companies are little more than rabid beasts. Clawing and looking for any way to get a little larger piece of the pie. If they slip in the slightest they are injured. If they slip a few more times they can be ripped apart by other competing companies- broken apart by others more ruthless.

Anyone wonder why the laws and regulations are changing so much in favor of the big corporations?

They might not be able to get off the treadmill, but it doesn't stop them from coercing others to come to their aid.

Does that make sense?

It's not going to last... (2, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952651)

OS X is Apple's real core product yet, they are becoming more and more, instead of the Apple Computer Company, rather the iPod company. I know I may get modded troll, but I'd much rather see Apple making its sales off of OS X instead of on the iPod which is a relatively mediocre product in a sea of other mediocre products. Sure, the interface is great, the scroll wheel brilliant, but in the end it only does one thing -- play music (and videos now -- poorly).

The cost of entry to use a *nice* Apple is just too damned high -- and this coming from an Apple FAN! Microsoft is already seeing the consequences of its horrendous licensing schemes with the upstart of Linux use and development -- I am unsure why Apple cannot see the same thing.

There will be an iPod killer at some point -- when the iPod isn't as 'cool' as it is now. And just like the Windows 95 debut, the time will come that the all supreme market leader will be playing catchup. In Apple's case however, the fact that their business model is structured now around iTunes and iPods instead of the great OS they created is unfortunate and will put them in a predicament in the future.

The day Apple decides to put OS X onto a DVD and let you install it on your whitebox built computer is the day the grave is dug for Microsoft. With the closed environment of OS X right now, I liken it to Betamax and VHS. Betamax was a superior technology but because Sony wanted to keep the rights to themselves, they got beaten handily by VHS. In the future Betamax was a niche product -- and successful for video editors etc, but oh, what could have been?

I hope not to ask about Apple 5 or 10 years from now, "Oh, what could have been?" I worry more and more however, that I will wind up with a really nice and fashionable MP3 player and an OS that is used as a niche product, being better or not.

Re:It's not going to last... (2, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952799)

Financial data [apple.com]

Apple has made $1.6b from it's computers and $1.2b from it's iPods. Maybe this next quarter won't see the same relationship; but we may be surprised yet again!

Check out their stock performance (5, Informative)

Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952652)

Here's a comparison of Apple's stock vs. Dell's stock over the past five years. [cnn.com]

Buying Apple five years ago would have netted you a 450% profit. Buying Dell five years ago would have netted you...a small loss.

Crow T. Trollbot

Re:Check out their stock performance (1)

gabor_nagy (891993) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952755)

Take the same graph and refresh it for 1 decade in place of 5 years. You'll be shocked.

Yes, what a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952667)

What A Difference Eight Years Can Make

I guess the same headline could be used for the Bush administration.

Low profit margins intentional (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952677)

Dell does NOT maximize profits -- I've heard several Dell executives speak (including Micheal Dell) and their pricing strategy is more subtle that just maximizing the short-term revenue minus costs bottom line. In fact, they said that they will actually penalize sales divisions that create too high a profit margin.

The reason is that the higher the profit margin, the higher the price. The higher the price, the lower the market-share. Dell is more interested in gaining market-share than in maximizing price. For a commodity such as PCs, the way to achieve long-term success is high volume with a more modest profit margin. Undercutting competitors is more valuable than earning more on each sale.

The key is that total profits are a second-order curve as a function of price. Too low a price results in too low a total profit. To high a price means lower sales volume and lower total profit. The optimum price foregoes some profits per PC, but makes it up in volume.

Perhaps the big lesson is that Dell and Apple are NOT in the same business. Dell is just one more PC maker that sells a commodity that is strongly subject to price competition (Dell is very good at competing on this). Apple is a sole-source for an intrinsically valued product. Sure, some people do avoid Apple because of price, but many buy Apple (and don't even consider buying a PC) because of the unique value provided by Apple.

don't slide on the astroturf, you'll get a rash (1)

thatshortkid (808634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952685)

um, why are blogs paraded as news or at the least columns? and why is the summary a copy-and-paste job? i must be new here, right?

slashdot. blogs are news. ruminations that don't matter.

Michael Dell shut down Dells Rep by outsourcing IT (2, Informative)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952691)

Dell shut down Dell's good reputation for service (probably its only strongpoint beside price) when it offshored its support services to foreign countries. I have heard numerous complaints about their new support being not very helpful. Apple, on the other hand, has produced new, highly popular products that many people seem to enjoy and actually use. People get excited about new products that are fun and well-designed. Dell seems to think that people only care about cheap PCs.
In a race to the bottom, Dell's stock has suffered. It is now just another PC Maker, with little or no excitement or fun. Yes they are cheap, but they are not very innovative.
Read this article, it talks a bit about Dell:
http://edition.cnn.com/2005/BUSINESS/11/01/dell.ma in.reut/ [cnn.com]
On a personal note: NEVER buy a DELL printer, unless you enjoy a beeping misfit that jams intermittently during times it is needed most.

Yeah but... (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952697)

It's nice to see Apple turned around. May be it is just me, but knowing their major portion of the revenue comes from a MP3 player is just plain scary. If they are smart enough to hopping from one train to another (e.g. media distribution/iTune?), good for them, but I'm not holding this stock.

The benefits of hindsight (1, Insightful)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952700)

Well, in eight years from now, it could seem that now was the time to close Apple and give the money back to the shareholders. Who's to know that? Apple is depending too much in the iPod for its success. When the iPod frenzy abates it'll have to find some other hit to keep on sailing. That's not so easy. That said, it'll probably always have a niche in the computer field, and perhaps it can reinvent itself as a consumer-electronics company, but that's far from sure.

There is one clear difference between Dell and Apple. Dell is a lean machine of a company, offering the same as everybody else just easier, cheaper and with more options. Its margins are always going to be small, but it'll probably always make money. Apple is a boutique company that will always have fatter margins because it'll offer exclusive products. But it depends too much on fickle consumers that can change brands as easily in electronics as in shirts. Dell is like Wal-Mart, and Apple is like a successful delicatessen chain.

Profit Margins (-1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952711)

Dell Profit Margin 6.5% * A Lot.

Apple Profit Margin 9.6% * A Little.

Which would you rather have?

Re:Profit Margins (3, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952741)

Which would you rather have?

Depends on who I am. If I'm Michael Dell, probably the 6.5%. If I'm a stockholder or an employee, who has the same absolute amount of income or stock riding both percentages? I'll take the 9.5% thanks.

6.5% isn't bad. (1, Insightful)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952716)

As I remember it, apple was losing $700 million dollars a quarter. A 6.5% profit margin isn't very bad.

Just a thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952734)

Don't get me wrong, I have bought Dell as well as Apple, however Apple seems to be looking more toward style and performance while Dell is about power and price (or power at cost). The market for PC's will slow down and people will be looking for something different. It may not be an Apple, but people will be more open to buying something other than what they already have. Not to mention that the iPod probably contributes a lot to Apple's success and opens the market to many people that would probably not have ever tried an Apple product.

Regular Slashdot wank fodder (-1, Offtopic)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952753)

Another masturbatory Apple story to make the Mac buyers feel warm inside. *Sigh*

Not that Apple doesn't produce nice tech, but what really is the point of these stories? Slashdot is so formulaic, it's ridiculous. How is it "news" by anyone's measure when every other story is: A) Google is great, B) Linux is great, C) Apple is great, D) Microsoft sucks, E) RIAA/MPAA sucks. Doesn't this crap get old for anybody else?

I used to think that Slashdot has been going downhill, but I don't think so anymore. If that were the case, it'd lose popularity and evaporate. No, I think I just have "Star Wars Syndrome". The quality of the item hasn't changed over the years, my standards have just improved. I think it may actually be time to find a more mature geek news outlet. Any suggestions?

Oh yeah - go ahead and mod this as a troll. Like I give a shit.

Where Would Apple Be (0, Flamebait)

Cheirdal (776541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13952772)

If they hadn't gotten a $150 million cash infusion from Microsoft in 1997? That kept the company afloat when it was about to go down for the third time.

I'll take the 6.5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13952819)

6.5% of the money Dell makes is more than ten times what Apple is worth as a whole. Dell might be losing its commercial edge, but most of Apple's profits these days come from selling music, and as more people get into that business, their market share can only go down.
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