In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko uttered the immortal words “Greed is good.”
And that “greed” culture, if indeed that is the correct terminology I am using, still plays out every day in the Big Apple.
Not because the people on Wall Street are greedy. Not because the traders are greedy, even. No. The greed is needed to fund so much growth, pensions, insurances and investments. Greed for corporate America is an essential element of how it grows and performs. So, when one of its most valuable companies drops down the greed ladder, the whole place shudders. Apple has come a cropper after issuing a profit warning.
Come a cropper is probably a bit too harsh. Apple is still on target to generate quarterly sales of $84 billion (£66bn). So let’s not write it off completely. It is not yet time to panic. The business model is good and it has enough momentum to keep it going for a decade.
But, maybe like you, I’ve fallen out of love with Apple over the last year.
Sure, I still use my iPhone. I’m writing this piece on my Apple iPad Pro using my Apple pen and the expensive keyboard that I was sold in the Apple shop. It all works well and I simply could not go back to using Microsoft products – ever. That’s how much I value the Apple infrastructure that supports all my devices.
But, there is a point to note in all of this. I have not upgraded my iPhone for two years, not bought any additional Apple products like the watch. Why? They just appear too darn expensive and I perceive the company as verging on taking me for granted. Like many of you, I regularly upgraded my iPhone from a 3 to a 4 and so on. I have my iPhone 6 and it works just fine, albeit the battery charging is getting a bit ropey. It does what it says on the tin. But part of me yearns for an iPhone XS.
I like the look of it and feel it would be ideal as an upgrade. But there is no way on this earth that I am paying the bounty required to purchase one of theses technological beauties. Firstly, I don’t have a spare grand to give to Apple and secondly, why the heck is this phone more than £1,000 to purchase? And this is why Apple is coming a cropper…
Of course, sales may be down in China and there’s a bigger game at play there with trade wars etc. But the loyal customers who have bought into its relatability, utility and innovation of the brand over the last decade – that’s you and me – have now made a stand. The price is making us balk. Despite how sophisticated it is and all the tricks it can do, we still believe that the sticker price is too heavy.
But there’s more. If I buy a car from the same dealer year after year, I get big discounts and really well looked-after. Not so in my experience with Apple. Considering the cash I have spent on my phones and those of the family, I should honestly be getting a new iPhone XS for free.
However, the “greed” element of Wall Street and corporate America would never countenance this. Why leave any money on the table, right? As the iPhone has been a runaway hit for Apple, no one ever considered that the party would come to an end. Chief executive Tim Cook knows Apple inside out, serving as Steve Job’s first lieutenant. He masterminded the whole world global network. But I believe he has potentially misread the masses, the early adopters and the techies.
Another iPhone iteration after another iPhone iteration is not quite what everyone wanted – especially at the inflated price. After all, the device still can’t make a cup of tea!
Certainly, repackage the iPhone with its new bells and whistles and add a margin, but if it is not revolutionary with a quantum leap in innovation, then I’m sticking with what I’ve got – for now. I’m not buying into the Apple gravy train any more until as a consumer I feel I’m getting better value for money and improved innovation.
I do hope Mr Cook is listening…
Jim Duffy MBE, Create Special.