Seeing What One Wants to See

Matt Stoller, linking to the aforelinked FT report on Apple “losing” the top spot in IDC’s phone market share figures:

The early signs that Apple is having a Boeing-like slow collapse.

That’s quite the take. It is true that iPhone sales have been relatively flat for two years — here are the quarterly revenue and year-over-year revenue change charts from Six Colors for the October–December 2023 quarter. But they’re not in decline. Apple’s problem — or perhaps better said, Apple investors’ problem — is that iPhone sales have peaked because they’ve saturated the globe. Everyone who wants one and can afford one has one.

But whatever is going on with iPhone sales, a comparison to Boeing is just dumb. Boeing’s problem isn’t cheap Chinese competition. It’s that when Boeing was Boeing — a truly great American company — it was an engineering-driven company. It was — past tense — in broad strokes similar to Apple in that regard. Then Boeing “merged” with McDonnell Douglas, the McDonnell Douglas CEO became Boeing’s CEO, other executives with zero aviation experience came over from companies like General Electric, and “a passion for great planes was replaced with a passion for affordability.” The 737 Max isn’t just unpopular — it’s an engineering disaster. The iPhone 15 lineup is, by consensus, the best lineup of phones in the industry — the fastest chips, great reliability, and industry-leading customer satisfaction. Even if iPhone sales were in decline — which only IDC is claiming to be true — it’s not for reasons that bear any resemblance to Boeing at all.

Call me when Apple is led by executives who lack a passion for great computers.

Tuesday, 16 April 2024