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Apple Announces Most Profitable Quarter in History 761

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the that's-a-lot-of-zeros dept.
zacharye writes with an except from an article over at BGR about Apple's quarterly results: "'Disappointing' though it may have been to some, the iPhone 4S propelled what is now confirmed to have been the most profitable quarter any technology company has ever recorded. Apple on Wednesday reported record earnings for the December quarter, revealing a profit of $13.06 billion on revenue that surpassed $46 billion. Among technology companies, Apple's fiscal first quarter represents the most profitable quarter ever recorded. Only one U.S. company has ever posted a more profitable quarter — Exxon managed a profit of $14.8 billion in the third quarter of 2008 — and the driving force behind Apple's record-setting performance was quite clearly the iPhone."
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Apple Announces Most Profitable Quarter in History

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  • Nokia and RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vakuona (788200) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:41PM (#38812863)

    Nokia and RIM should read and weep. This should have been them.

  • Re:Who Cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:46PM (#38812923)

    I'll have to disagree ...it's tech worthy news. The more money Apple gets, the more money they have to influence the shape of things to come.

    It's good to be aware of the shifts in power and the current status quo regardless of whether you are a fanboi or not.

  • Re:Bubble? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:46PM (#38812927) Homepage Journal

    I can't help that think with record breaking profits like this, there has to be some sort of bubble that's about to burst. Maybe it's paranoia brought about by the current economy, but goodness.. $13 billion in profit? More than 25% of their revenue is profit? Something is going on here..

    They are building all their products in China. What's so hard to figure about this? OK, Foxconn will now pay the workers a few Renminbi more, per hour, but don't expect that to dent the profit margin much.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:47PM (#38812943)

    Most Profitable Quarter in History?
    Did you adjust for inflation?

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:53PM (#38813019)

    The entire phone market is switching over to smartphones.

    All of CHINA is switching over to smartphones.

    Apple's current profits are based on selling to a tiny fraction of the current phone market; at least some iPhones are now free in contract.

    This is not a bubble. This is a surfer just at the START of riding in a very big wave.

    And that's only figuring in the phone business, the entire PC industry is going to switch quickly to where most casual consumer computing is done on tablets... and there Apple is again, lead surfer on that wave.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention Apple is a leader in selling consumers media over the internet. But that would only matter if that were some kind of transition underway also.

    So if you think it's time to sell, think again... even if you think buying now is foolish, well plenty said that back at $350. The fact is that just to keep the absurdly low P/E of 15 that Apple has currently, every quarter is going to see a large stock surge like you see now as profits and cash on hand keep dragging the price up against the will of the traders.

  • American jobs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:54PM (#38813025)

    And yet Apple couldn't manufacture iPhones in the US because they couldn't afford the extra $49 it would cost to make iPhones here. It might shave a few millions off of those billions. Can't have that happen!

  • by chill (34294) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:06PM (#38813203) Journal

    When Exxon posted those profit numbers people were screaming for a windfall profits tax. Where are those people now? Probably listening to their iPod, tuned out to the world.

  • Scaled Tariff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:11PM (#38813259) Journal
    We are LONG overdue for America to implement a scaled tariff. Basically, These are tariffs that target nations that we have large deficits with, but in particular, those that manipulate their money and markets against us: [americanthinker.com]

    This would not only restore manufacturing, but it would also improve our tax base, rather quickly. Finally, it would force nations that we have supposed open markets with that manipulate against us to change their behaviors.
    So, for our top 20 nations that we trade with, this would punish the following:
    • China - 36%
    • Venezuela - 28%
    • Italy - 25%
    • Germany - 24%
    • India - 22%
    • Japan - 16%
    • South Africa - 14%
    • Mexico - 13%
    • France - 12%
    • Taiwan - 8%

    While giving other nations like Canada a pass:

    • Argentina,
    • Australia,
    • Belgium,
    • Brazil,
    • Canada,
    • Hong Kong,
    • Luxembourg,
    • Netherlands,
    • Singapore,
    • South Korea,
    • United Kingdom

    Interestingly, this is legal PER WTO. WTO's position is that when a nation's trade deficit is larger than 10% with another, than you may take action.

    The trick here is to convince the neo-cons that are attached to China's pants to let go and back America instead. Right now, far too many neo-cons are the ones blocking efforts at a balanced trade. In addition, without a budget deficit below 500 billion (or so), this probably becomes impossible to do.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:12PM (#38813269)

    Unlike Apple, Exxon deals in commodities with inelastic demand. It could be argued more readily, I suppose, that Apple actually earned those profits while Exxon gains them purely of virtue of having pumped it out of the ground. YMMV.

    Personally, I would have more respect for Apple if they started paying a dividend.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:19PM (#38813365)

    So the Android phones that are made in the same factory aren't as profitable.... why?

    If it were solely down to the Chinese labour (who are not slaves btw, but we'll ignore the hyperbole) then there would be considerably more highly profitable electronics manufacturers.

  • Re:Bubble? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:23PM (#38813387)

    The Foxconn factory complex in question has a lower suicide rate than the overall suicide rate for China. When you have half a million employees in the same city, some of them are gong to commit suicide. If you have half a million humans in the same city, some of them are going to commit suicide.

  • by Swampash (1131503) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:24PM (#38813393)

    The world's, and particularly the USA's, economy depends on oil. There is no alternative. The world needs oil. If the oil stops, everything falls apart. In other words, whatever the cost of oil is people will buy it. They don't have a choice.

    If Apple stops, people will use a competitor's products. No big deal.

    (see: "elasticity of demand")

  • Re:Scaled Tariff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:25PM (#38813409)

    Or instead of crippling yourselves with trade manipulation you could just repeal the Bush Era Tax Cuts - there's 2 trillion right there, that barely touches the bottom 90% of earners and yet will cost the US 2 trillion dollars - more than twice the "expensive, wasteful, ill-affordable" healthcare bill.

    Get your house in order before blaming countries like Germany, who have built a very strong export economy, for harming your own. You'd hardly say that Germany was in the position it's in by being like China in the way it goes about becoming a large net exporter - this is not simply about "restoring manufacturing" - it's not as simple as that by a long shot.

  • Re:Expect... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:25PM (#38813411) Homepage Journal

    In related news:

    Apple spent a tiny, tiny portion of their profits bludgeoning their competition in patent litigation.

    $100 million sure sounds like a lot until you see how much they make.

    Which is why I mentioned it. If you are on the other side of Highway 101, at a certain company you are probably cringing at this turn of fortunes.

    Why not do evil? It evidently pays very, very well.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:26PM (#38813421) Homepage Journal
    I don't know the real numbers, but Android could still be winning. It's not as if all of the different manufacturers have one joint financial statement.
  • Re:Who Cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) * on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:29PM (#38813457)

    I'll have to disagree ...it's tech worthy news. The more money Apple gets, the more money they have to influence the shape of things to come.

    It's good to be aware of the shifts in power and the current status quo regardless of whether you are a fanboi or not.

    The profit levels say nothing about the shape of things to come (other than more law suits).

    What the do indicate is the excessive level of profit is cranked into the iphone/ipad line.
    By my estimate they could cut the price in half and still make a profit. None of the other phone
    or tablet makers have this kind of profit margin, yet their products easily match the iOS products
    in quality and ease of use.

    If apple cut their prices the "cool factor" would be diminished, and the fanbois would move onto something
    else. If they aren't over paying top dollar its just obviously not the best thing ever.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:33PM (#38813493)

    They didn't have Jobs. When he came back Apple was almost bankrupt and had to be rescued by Microsoft. It took great vision to take a nearly broke computer company and take on the most contested markets like consumer electronics and music and win through quality and design of the products alone. And I'm not even an Apple fanboy.

  • Re:Who Cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:42PM (#38813585)

    I'll have to disagree ...it's tech worthy news. The more money Apple gets, the more money they have to influence the shape of things to come.

    It's good to be aware of the shifts in power and the current status quo regardless of whether you are a fanboi or not.

    Speaking of which :
    @fmanjoo [twitter.com] : "Apple's profits ($13 billion) exceeded Google's entire revenue ($10.6 billion)."

    Thought that was pretty mind-blowing since we're all used to thinking of Google as some kind of juggernaut.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:46PM (#38813621)

    I can. Most of the phones in the world will still be nokia's basic phones just like they have been for last ten years or so. Why? Because in the biggest markets (in terms of numbers sold), people can't afford anything else.

    Remember to mention that you're talking about SMARTphones if you want a discussion about rich markets and place where android, ios and black berry have a standing.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:50PM (#38813667)

    That's precisely why I don't own any shares of Apple. As soon as people start acting like there's a sure thing you can be pretty sure that the price is already way too high.

    There have been a few very significant changes at Apple lately which lead me to suspect that it might not continue going up much longer. One they lost their CEO and the individual that drove the branding and marketing for Apple.Apple is mostly marketing, they rarely if ever do anything first and most of the time they way over price the items they sell, depending upon name recognition and glamor to pull it off. I'm not so sure that they're going to be able to continue that without Steve. Sure, they may very well, but so far I don't have any reason to assume so.

    Then there's been the patent trolling and general dickishness of Apple trying to kill Android. It's going to come back to haunt them in the future in terms of increased competition and damaged image. I personally, am not going to be recommending Apple products any time soon, which makes it somewhat difficult as I don't generally recommend MS products either.

    Lastly, stocks have a nasty tendency to regress to the mean over time and the more people view the money as guaranteed the more likely that it is that there's going to be a correction. Right now, if you want money, MSFT is a much better buy than AAPL is.

    Will this lead to AAPL taking a bit of a dive, I don't know, it's hard to really figure out how long delusion is going to last before it finally comes into contact with reality.

  • Re:American jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by randy of the redwood (1565519) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:53PM (#38813683)
    Not to be pedantic, but if your $49 is correct, that would be just under $2 BILLION in reduced profits if they did it in the US for last quarter alone. According to the press release, they sold over 37 million phones last quarter.

    I think if I went to my boss and suggested it would be a patriotic move to build here and it would only cost us $8 billion a year, I would probably be looking for work.

    I am a big fan of building in the US, but let's look for products like construction equipment (that take large amounts of natural resources we have, and are expensive to ship), and do those first. (See Caterpillar for a success story like this). When China's economy has caught up to ours (they want Lattes too), then we can look to compete on things like electronics that are cheap to ship.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Swampash (1131503) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:55PM (#38813693)

    Apple makes more money from its smartphone than every other smartphone manufacturer in the world combined.

    The top-selling smartphones in the US last quarter were, in order: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS.

    And the tablet market? Let's call it what it is - the iPad market.

  • Re:Who Cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oxdas (2447598) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:56PM (#38813699)

    I have Apple stock and yet I still can't help but be a little sad. Apple makes good products. I own a few and many other people I know have them as well (hence the stock). That said, I like to see winners that are worthy of emulation. Apple hasn't been a good corporate citizen lately. They have tried to drive competition from their markets by less than honorable means. They have not given back to the society that nurtured them. They have not set an example of how to treat your employees, your partners, or your country.

    I know it would be considered heresy at American business schools, but I don't believe a company exists only to benefit its shareholders. A company is given many gifts by their society; monopoly on their brand and inventions, protection in trade, infrastructure to distribute their goods, and consumers to buy it. Companies cannot succeed on capitalism alone. Don't misunderstand me, I believe that capitalism is the greatest economic system yet devised because it harnesses our inner greed, but the power of that greed can be self-destructive.

    So I guess when I see profits of this magnitude, it makes me a little nervous.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PRMan (959735) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:59PM (#38813719)
    Android is certainly the bargain option. Apple makes more money than Microsoft in the PC market, so you could say they are "winning". But that would neglect the fact that Microsoft has over 90% market share. And that, although Apple had as much as 14% market share in the past, a couple bad decisions and they were nearly gone. Microsoft has made hundreds of bad decisions, and yet they survive no problem.
  • by dtmancom (925636) <gordon2NO@SPAMdtman.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:03PM (#38813763) Homepage
    If who makes the most money is what decides what is "right," then I guess McDonald's is the best restaurant in America.
  • Re:Who Cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:18PM (#38813901)

    None of the other phone or tablet makers have this kind of profit margin, yet their products easily match the iOS products in quality and ease of use.

    That'd be a great point, if customer satisfaction surveys and analysis of support call center numbers didn't suggest the exact opposite of what you've just claimed.

    Here's what's funny: the iPad has been competing with similarly priced competitor devices for a while now - devices from Motorla, Samsung, Dell... how is it that those other makers have lower profit margins on their devices (by your own claim), yet Apple could cut the price of the iPad in half and still make a profit?

    And the profit levels absolutely do say something about the shape of things to come: the person with the thinnest profit margins is the one who has to start cutting corners on build quality and components to be able to make a profit. The person with the biggest profit margins has some room to reduce their per-unit profit without sacrificing build quality, allowing them to maintain their market share in the face of competitive pressures.

  • Re:Scaled Tariff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:27PM (#38813977)

    The Republicans took millions of people hostage last time we even talked about reducing the Bush tax cuts. They'd burn the country to the ground before allowing them to be dropped entirely.

    When ~50% of your government is insane, evil, or both, the best course of action is usually unavailable. We've got to work with what we've got.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Flytrap (939609) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:36PM (#38814027)

    I don't know the real numbers, but Android could still be winning. It's not as if all of the different manufacturers have one joint financial statement.

    More than half of Verizon smartphone sales in Q4 were iPhones
    Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-57365200-233/more-than-half-of-verizon-smartphone-sales-in-q4-were-iphones/#ixzz1kQco5gZ4 [cnet.com]

    And the rest is shared between all the numerous Android manufacturers, not to mention RIM (which is still hanging in there), the smattering of Windows Phone manufacturers and a hodge-podge of low end smart phones still running Samsung's Bada or Nokia's Symbian.

    You are correct... Android is not a company with its own income statement. The Android handset manufactures compete among themselves as much as they compete against the iPhone. And the thing that is rarely ever said out loud (only whispered in dark tech filled corners) is that the majority of the Android registrations that Google cites in its numbers are cheap low end hand sets that most people pick up for free on a two year contract...

    The Android standard bearers such as the Galaxy S2 and some of the HTC models are easily as good as or better than the iPhone... but so many people are entering the smartphone world at the bottom end; and that space is filled with so many so-so Android devices, it is understandable why some (39% according to the latest research) make the switch to an iPhone as soon as they can.

  • Re:Scaled Tariff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RobertinXinyang (1001181) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:48PM (#38814113)

    What is interesting to me, with the continual WTO talk, is that imports are taxed heavily in China. The item does not even need to be an imported product, it only needs to be an imported brand.

    This means that even if the product is made entirely in China, if the brand is significantly foreign owned then the item is taxed at a rate that is equal to the amount that is projected to leave China due to the purchase. Tax code is actually a bit more complicated than this; but that is basically how it works.

    This allows the Chinese branded competitors to the American and German brands to establish their production process, allowing them to compete internationally. To the Chinese consumer the result is higher prices.

    Part of the reason for the higher prices is that the Chinese manufacturer does not need to offer the item at a lower price, or even the the same price as the, Chinese made, item is sold for in the US and EU.Like I have mentioned here before, it is cheaper for me to have friends in America purchase items like smart-phones and computer and mail them to me in China than to purchase the item in China. Even most household goods, other than the most basic items manufactured by "not for export" companies, are more expensive in China.

    Right now China is playing both sides, they are calling to the WTO when anyone considering responding to China's practices and the results of those practices. At the same time China is crying, "oh, pity poor China," when anyone considers demanding that China obey the same rules that it demands that others abide by.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Proudrooster (580120) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:51PM (#38814139) Homepage
    I agree.. The new iPhone is really, really well done. Siri is so simple that my grandma can use the iPhone. This is clearly a time where profits were earned through innovation and delivery, not just accounting tricks. Exxon being the second closet company gets their product for nearly free, so this is definitely an accomplishment. The question is, without Steve is this sustainable.
  • Re:American jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:29PM (#38814427)

    Do you think Steve Jobs would have started Apple if he had been born in Kenya? Would the engineers there be able to design great devices if the electricity was only on for four hours a day? What if some warlord rolled through, enslaving, raping, and murdering anyone in their way?

    There's a reason you don't see any successful businesses based in Somalia. You need a prosperous, stable nation as a launching point. Companies like Apple are quite happy to take advantage of the great conditions here, but give absolutely nothing back. Those conditions won't be around for the next generation as a result.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Swampash (1131503) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:06PM (#38814701)

    I hear Kodak had a huge market share too.

  • Re:American jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stdarg (456557) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:14PM (#38814767)

    Yeah I understand your argument but you're acting like one half is more important than the other.

    There's a reason Apple is making billions of dollars and you're not. You both have the advantage of American prosperity and stability. But they made it and you didn't (not to the same level). And yet you want your "piece" of their success.. and the only thing you did to earn it is to be born into this backdrop of prosperity and stability which you have very little responsibility for. So why do you deserve anything more than the same opportunity that the people high up in Apple have? And you already have that opportunity because you live here, you don't need to steal their money to have it.

    Even this late in the game you could get a piece of the action by working for them or buying a tiny amount of their stock.

    Let's do some calcs.. you said $1.8 billion, divided by 300 million, that's $6 per person. How many shares of Apple would you need to buy to get that same $6 legitimately and morally, not by just taking it from them at gunpoint? Well probably about 1 share the way their price has been appreciating, you'll get more than $6 per quarter.

    But nope, that's not good enough for you! They "owe" it to you, because they happen to benefit from American prosperity (just like you).

    You know, I can totally get on board with this sense of entitlement. I'll do you one better. China's economy is heavily dependent on American wealth.. so they owe their success to us too. In fact we should own like 60% of China. Africa takes a bunch of aid money from us, I propose a 75% tax for everybody in Africa, payable to us.

    Btw this is exactly why so many left wing movements evolve into fascism, from unions to communist regimes. Turns out everybody owes you everything, and you and your buddies are just the men to make them pay their fair share. Screw freedom, it's wealth that makes us all happy and successful.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:47PM (#38815009)

    Microsoft has 90% desktop share. When all devices are taken into account, Microsoft drops to under 50% and is shrinking. Microsoft is stuck in the 90s and cannot understand mobile devices.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scotts13 (1371443) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:51PM (#38815039)

    Remember when Microsoft saved Apple's ass via a cash infusion?

    Thank god for Microsoft.

    Interestingly enough, that turns out not to be true.

  • Unware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:22AM (#38815541)

    First of all, if Apple does any R&D

    Webkit?

    LLVM?

    Obviously doing material based R&D on materials for cases and such...

    It's a little odd how even the most casual, and certainly any technical user, could be unaware of the R&D Apple does.

    Hell just with LLVM alone they are probably even ahead of Microsoft in modern compiler research!

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:49AM (#38815673) Journal

    had to be rescued by Microsoft.

    Nope. MS put in $150M as a token investment. The main point of that deal was that MS promised to keep shipping Office on the Mac for five years, and Apple let them off the hook for stealing Quicktime code for Windows.

    -jcr

  • Re:Unware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @02:00AM (#38815963)

    Last I checked, clang wasn't anywhere near close either g++ or VC++ when it came to optimizing code - so, no.

    Yes but the fundamental base is more modern and easier to build new ideas atop of. Compilers are not ALL about optimization.

    LLVM is certainly a very neat thing, and it will do wonders for anyone who needs to write his own compiler. But there's no magical pixie dust there, and it doesn't really do anything that wasn't done before. It just happens to have all those goodies gathered in a single place, available under a very permissive license, and maintained by a company with huge pockets.

    That all most advances are in CS. But it's more than most are doing currently. It certainly is something new and more interesting than ever more esoteric compiler optimizations for gcc...

    And it still shows what I said is true and the OP is wrong, that Apple is doing R&D - even out in the open.

  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @02:03AM (#38815983)

    The number of iOS devices (iPhone and iPod Touch) sold last quarter exceeded the number of Android units

    Just barely, and only if you believe that overtly biased analyst's estimate. And why would you count the Touch as a phone? Apples to apples please :-)

    More to the point, there is no guarantee of a repeat next quarter, far from it.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @02:17AM (#38816047)

    Actually iOS ships on more devices than Android.

    What makes you think Google cares how many music players ship?

  • Re:That was sad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @03:04AM (#38816229)

    Please. Palm Pre failed because the hardware was horrible and WebOS was half-baked at best. I lost track of how many bad reviews the Pre had due to the cheap build quality. WebOS has potential, but the powers at be - Apple Wannabe Rubenstein kept tripping up on everything. That's the reality.

    At least the 1st gen iPhone was polished coming out of the gate. Sure it was missing some features, but it was polished. It's a concept that even the current handset makers just can't seem to comprehend.

  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kartu (1490911) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @05:19AM (#38816645)
    iPhone4's are top selling model only because competitors like Samsung offer many different models. Apple's smartphone market share is about 14% worldwide, 25% in US. Samsung's market share is about 24% worldwide. Apple making more money with 14% market share than remaining 96% (assuming it's true) only tells you how hard it "pwns" its customers. It might sound good to you only if you've invested in their stocks, but hard too see why anyone would like this fact as a consumer.
  • Re:Nokia and RIM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhotoJim (813785) <jim.photojim@ca> on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @08:25AM (#38817401) Homepage

    And seriously, a person only has to compare Apple products at launch to the competition to see if there is any R&D being done.

    The iPhone at launch was entirely like any other phone on the market. It inspired a new generation of phones from almost every other manufacturer. The bulk of the R&D on that product might have gone into ergonomics and user interface and not "new technology", but that's still R&D and it's still significant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @09:18AM (#38817771)

    The number of iOS devices (iPhone and iPod Touch) sold last quarter exceeded the number of Android units

    Just barely, and only if you believe that overtly biased analyst's estimate. And why would you count the Touch as a phone? Apples to apples please :-)

    The question is, why do you care about whether iOS or Android is "winning?"

    If you're Verizon or Sprint, or HTC or Sony Ericsson, then you might just care about phones. You want to know which devices are drawing customers into your stores, so things like the iPod Touch and wifi-only iPad are irrelevant to you. All you want to know is how many handsets and 3G tablets get activated on your network.

    On the other hand, if you're a developer, or just an armchair tech enthusiast, you want to know which platform is more successful. Which ecosystem has a larger market for apps, which OS do people prefer to interact with, which vendor holds sway over more eyeballs, which vendor has more influence when doing deals with content providers and such. I think most Slashdot readers fall into this category.

    And to those of us who are armchair-referreeing the platform race, handheld and tablet sales are extremely relevant. A platform that is successful on a variety of devices has a definite advantage in the marketplace. It will attract more content providers, more app developers, and more accessory makers. This in turn reinforces the strength of the platform, which encourages consumers to buy more devices.

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