Unheard of: analyst claims Apple should act like traditional business

From (hahahaha) The Wall Street Journal:

“The panacea is to transform the industry with a revolutionary design,” Mr. Mawston said. Until then “you have to do the traditional business school implementations like manage costs and move quicker than rivals.”

I’ve never heard of an analyst saying that Apple should act more like a traditional company. I bet Mr. Mawston is right: if Apple would just act like everyone else, it would have no problem maintaining its current position of making more money than everyone else combined. Nope, no problem with that logic.

But hey, maybe we should look at how Apple manages cost. My favorite example is flash memory: Apple has so much leverage with NAND suppliers that for every $392 they spent on flash memory in 2011, they made over $2,000 in profit:

apple margins flash memory

As far as acting faster than its competitors, Apple doesn’t really seem to have a timing problem at all. There were about 11 months between the release of the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5, and 11 months between the release of the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S4 (and people complain about Apple’s numbering system?). The only difference is that Samsung releases their flagship in the middle of the iPhone’s life cycle, so that they can say they have the newest phone just as excitement for the iPhone begins to wane.  Last year the S III  beat the iPhone 4S in sales before the iPhone 5 came out – I bet the same thing happens again this year. What analysts want is for Apple to release two rounds of flagships per year, and thus not act like everyone else.

(Everyone else who is doing well, at least. Right now that only really means Samsung.)

Surprising success story: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines, Flying Above an Industry’s Troubles – NYTimes.com:

Mr. Wahto retired six years ago, but not before seeing the transformation of flying in Alaska and of the airline where he spent his career. Alaska Airlines is puny compared to the major carriers: it has 124 planes, while United Airlines has more than 700 and four times as many passengers. But because of the state’s topography and extreme weather, it was the first to develop satellite guidance, a navigation technique that has transformed landing at Alaska’s tricky airports. The technique is now at the heart of the Federal Aviation Administration’s plan to modernize the nation’s air traffic system, a project that is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars over the coming decades.


Alaska Airlines, in fact, had the industry’s best on-time performance for the third consecutive year in 2012, with 87 percent of flights landing on time, according to FlightStats, a data provider.


Megamergers, most recently of US Airways and American Airlines, have redrawn the boundaries of domestic carriers, concentrating the business as never before. Alaska Airlines, for its part, has cultivated staunch independence. Unlike carriers that have faced bankruptcy or acquisition, Alaska has turned a profit for 33 of the last 39 years. In 2012, it had a record $316 million in net income, up 29 percent from 2011.

Alaska Airlines uses more advanced technology to provide better service to their customers, and in exchange it has been far more successful at consistently turning a profit than its competitors. Funny how that works.

On Instagram

Matt Alexander:

If you’re genuinely saddened that you might not make money from some photographs you took on your iPhone 4 two years ago on a free photography social network you still freely enjoy now, then yes, please close your account. But, for the rest of us, welcome to the very nature of modern business.

A company needs to make money. You took your pictures so that you could share them with the world, and you weren’t expecting to make any money from it. Seriously, chillax.

While I’m on the topic of Instagram: making fun of people who take pictures of their meals isn’t clever. That joke got old pretty much the first time anyone heard it. Posting that joke on a social network just makes you sound like a hypocritical ass.