iPhone Business Model

Quarterly results time, when the internet's fancy turns to chicken-little predictions of how many percentage points this or that company slipped on which or what index of... who cares.

It's not the first time we've mentioned this, and we're certainly not the first people to have mentioned it. Yet, just like clockwork every 3 months analysts spout estimates and every blog and their commenters race to re-publish what in essence are meaningless numbers.

Cases in point: Apple and the iPhone.

Certainly, without much room for doubt or question, Apple's market share and likely iPhone market share will be down this quarter. Newsflash: the market will likely be down this quarter. So if Apple is selling 1% or 2% less in terms of units, hellseven 10% less in terms of units, is that reason to panic?

If you're an analyst or shockmedia type, likely "yes", or if you're manipulating stock for short term turnover rather than stable long term growth, "aye, ye scurvy dogs!". But if you're Apple?


Historically, Apple doesn't care about market share, they care about profit share. (They already own mind share, so we'll remove that from the equation for now).

Apple is a public company that reports its margins, which typically run around 30%. Let that sink in for a moment. When Palm is selling millions of Centros and losing money hand over fist, when Nokia owns the international market and revenues plummet, when PC makers are racing each other to the bottom of the netbook price list to eek out razor-thin margins and gaining footprint only to hemorrhage cash, rumors of iPhone nanos and cheapo iNetbooks make as little sense for Apple as iSupply- and analyst-fueled headlines.

Sure, it's nice for consumers to get low prices, but not at the expense of the companies going out of business and no longer giving us products or competition. Short term gain at long term loss isn't sustainable. It's the $0.99 fart app of the electronics space.

Apple reports earnings on April 22nd.