Yesterday something happened that hasn’t happened since 2001. Apple missed its quarterly earnings numbers.
It’s an interesting phenomenon because it had nothing to do with the death of Steve Jobs. The company just didn’t sell as many iPhones and iPads as it thought it would. What is also interesting is Apples’ long history of given ridiculously low guidance to stock analysts then turning around and crushing their numbers. Not sure what happened here though. Did Apple finally try to give accurate guidance to the Street then missed it or did they have a REALLY bad quarter in missing their already likely to be too low earnings estimates? Or did they get “done-in” by an over active and often inaccurate rumor mill?
Whatever the reasons or circumstance some are probably concerned about what lies ahead for the industry. After all, if Apple is having trouble then the rest of the world must be in the crapper. Well that’s the easy answer for sure but it’s likely not a real problem.
What? How can that be? They missed for the first time in forever etc etc. well, the most likely reason is that they are simply a victim of their own success. There is so much buzz and rumor activity around everything that the company does that it actually creates some indecision and waiting in the fan boy set. As a result they may not buy something because the buzz is that in a few short months the next “big thing” is anticipated.
Of course, that can have its drawbacks as well as we saw with the iPhone 5 no-show and the ensuing “disappointment” from many. Most Apple fanatics are probably going to wait for the iPhone 5 to appear next now that the rumor mil has churned out that Steve Jobs’ last great act for the company was making sure that his fingerprints were all over the iPhone 5.
What is most interesting though about the earnings hiccup of yesterday is how Apple has set the table with expectations of this current quarter being in the neighborhood of $40 billion in revenue which would be a new record. The iPhone 4GS has had a record breaking start as many from the iPhone 3 set are upgrading and the buzz around the Siri assistant voice recognition software has been strong.
All of this is to say that it may get more and more difficult for companies like Apple to perform in an “as expected” manner for the future. Why? Because so much hype and rumor are impacting what is really happening that the line between what is real and what is rumored has blurred beyond the point of recognition. Apple actually blamed their performance on the excessive rumor mongering. That’s saying something when they are blowing the whistle on what are many of their infamous fan boys who spread the latest and great “maybe it’s trues” about Apple.
Blogs and bloggers are trying to make their names through who can create then substantiate the biggest rumors. The trouble is that there are many more swing and misses than hits. Take the Boy Genius Report saying that Sprint would have an exclusive on the iPhone 5 when it was released. Oooops. Not only was their no exclusive but there was no iPhone 5. Two strikes in one swing but that may have kept people on the sidelines which is pathetic. The trouble is that people believe this junk and it influences purchasing decisions in an unhealthy way.
One can only hope that this rumor spreading for building one’s own brand’s sake comes to a halt as people simply stop giving these idiots their attention. The trouble is that we are at a point in the evolution of the Internet has us squarely in the middle of the Oversharing Period. People feel that they can say anything to anyone about anything it is simply true. I hope people aren’t that gullible but apparently they are. Heck, I can be so why can’t anyone else?
So this whole earnings “issue” with Apple appears to be more about the current information environment on the Internet which is a place where reputations, sales and just about anything else can be twisted and turned but reality and truth are not a requirement.
Honestly, folks, we need to be very careful about how much further we allow this to go. I say we because we are all to blame for giving these little sparks of rumors enough oxygen to turn into the flames of speculation, conjecture, lies and more. It’s not a good place to be. It’s impacting an already fragile economy to the point where the likes of Apple, who set the earnings bar so low that most Wall Streeters ignore their guidance, are missing the mark.
Let’s stop feeding it, please.