Posts filed under “Web/Tech”

Uh-Oh: Apple on the Cover of Fortune

And just when things were going so well: Apple is the cover story of this month’s Fortune. Recall January 2004, when we noted Uh oh: Forbes Cover Screams "Tech is Back!"

Call it the curse of the magazine indicator. Paul Krugman’s quote on the subject is infamous: “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first put on the cover of Business Week.”

To be fair, most of the work I’ve done on the magazine cover indicator focuses on macro or sector issues: Bull or Bear Markets, specific sectors, Energy/oil, low carb/Atkins, etc. It works better with mainstream publications than with Business mags.

The ultimate example of mag cover timing was Time’s Man of the Year: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos towards the end of 1999. I noted this in a column on contrary indicators for TheStreet.com in 2001. Time’s timing was flawless; When they bestowed that honorific on Bezos, Amazon’s stock was near its high of $113. It closed 2000 as a teen-ager — under $16. That’s an 86% decrease.

But the best interpretation of that cover was less in nailing the top in Amazon (which it did), but rather, in calling the top for the entire internet bubble — which Time did within a few months of the penultimate peak. That’s damn good timing. BTW, you can have some fun with this by reviewing the entire history of Time’s Person of the Year. Does the complete list (1927-2004) reveal a greater tendency to catch the early parts of a trend — or the opposite, namely, the tail end?

Caveat:  I cannot say with confidence that it works as well for individual companies. Sure, you can find Cisco, Dell or EMC on many covers in 1999 and 2000. But these same companies, along with Intel, Micorsoft, Sun, Oracle and dozens more, were on many covers for many years — and hundreds of points — prior.

Lastly, Ed Seykota makes the astute observation that the Magazine Cover Indicator works best with "very emotionally evocative covers." Enough said . . .

UP>

UPDATE:  February 16, 2005 9:31pm

What did Carly on magizne covers signify?

NYT:  "No magazine loved her more than Fortune, but its embrace was fickle. "There is no question that Fortune put her on the map" with a 1998 cover article, Carol J. Loomis, Fortune’s editor at large, told CNBC on Wednesday, when Ms. Fiorina was ousted. Asked if the cover article in the current issue, which pronounced H-P’s Compaq deal a blunder, played a role in the ouster, Ms. Loomis said "I suspect that the article helped," though H-P directors said it did not."

>

Sources:

Fortune_cover_appleTechnology Special
How Big Can Apple Get?

"Back from near oblivion, Apple is setting the pace in a new digital universe where computing and entertainment merge. We asked Steve Jobs how he did it (hint: It’s the software, stupid) and what’s next."

See also:  Apple’s New Mac Mini: A True 21st Century Trojan Horse, Saving Face at Sony and Five questions for Steve Jobs.

See Also:
Carly’s Nemesis: Fate or Fortune? 
Katharine Q. Seelye
NYT,  February 13, 2005
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/13/business/yourmoney/13suits.html?

Category: Investing, Media, Web/Tech

Video Game Industry Sales Reach Record Pace in 2004

Category: Music, Web/Tech

VOTE: Best Financial Industry/Investment Blog

Category: Web/Tech

Apple aiming for the sweetspot ?

Since we’ve been discussing the impact of Apple lately, I thought it worthwhile to point to a graphic depiction of Apple’s marketing strategy, as conceived by future Wired comtributor Paul Nixon.

I’m not sure I agree with Paul’s statement that "until January 2005,
Apple had no iPod that served the mass market
" givent he enormous sales
numbers the Pod has rung up. But the broader point of targeting the new devices
at truly mass entry level (i.e., cheap) is valid.

click for larger graphic

Apple_tipping_point_lrg

Check out the full size graph here:

Nice work, Paul

Source:
Apple’s Tipping Point: Macs for the Masses
Paul Nixon
Nixlog, January 12, 2005
http://www.nixlog.com/apple/

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Category: Finance, Web/Tech

Wall Street Remains Clueless as Ever as to Apple’s Products

From all the chatter I’ve heard on Wall Street, I get the sense that many PC analysts – long wed to the windows world – have no clue what to make of the mini Mac. I cannot say I am surprised.

Just last year, one PC analyst at a bulge bracket firm suggested Apple sell itself to Sony. Another suggested that Apple start producing Windows machines, or use Intel chips.

Umm, no.

This is part of a long term misunderstanding of Apple by the Street. Most of them don’t “get” Apple; They certainly haven’t been able to figure out Steve Jobs. And since all but one (that I know of) work primarily on a Windows machine, they never really understood what the fuss about the Mac was all about.

Until the iPod came along. Apple created a category killer by engineering a marvelous piece of user friendly technology made from essentially off the shelf components. The secret sauce was their terrific user interface. That forced some Analysts to start getting clued into what the cult of Macintosh was all about.

But what about this new Mac mini?

Understand what Apple is doing with the mini:

1) It’s a Windows replacement machine;

2) Geeks like it!

3) It’s potentially the centerpiece for a Home theatre

4) It’s a cheap 2nd Apple for faithful MacHeads

Let’s focus on #2 today (#1 will be the subject of a Street.com column later this week).

In the old days, geeks recommended Windows because they were a “standard,” they let admins under the hood pretty regularly  — and they were cheap.


Indeed, the original name for Windows 95 was “the IT department full employment act.”
It was buggy, difficult to maintain, vulnerable and crash prone – but
it was the industry standard. Any IT guy you spoke to in the mid 90s
would tell you how much cheaper the Wintel machines were to buy, how
much more software there was for it.


What
he didn’t tell you was how much higher the cost of ownership was –
namely his salary. Its eventually became his entire support staff’s
salary.

 

The result of that “bias” has been costly to maintain PC networks in most offices, and unsupported PCs in most homes. Every home PC user who has ever had a major Windows headache – security issues, virus infections, corrupted ini files, missing dll library – is desperate for an easy to use alternative.

Here we are a decade later, and a new generation of younger IT employees have inherited these headaches from their predecessors. And, to judge by the geek blogs and websites, they are none to happy about it. From Malware to spam hijacking to Explorer vulnerabilities, keeping a windows network running – or even a single internet connected machine – is a time consuming, frustrating job.

For what most people use their PCs for – email, internet surfing, music playing / CD burning, word processing – this is all the machine they need.

And Geeks like it! They really like it! — And they are key influencers of purchases by many people . . .

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Category: Investing, Web/Tech

Fun with Google

Category: Web/Tech

Hunting for the next iPod

Category: Web/Tech

Is the RIAA successful or not?

Category: Music, Web/Tech

Microsoft Conduct Is Challenged Again

wsj_format_logo

Microsoft Conduct Is Challenged Again

As it pushes to settle other antitrust suits, Microsoft Corp. faces new, potentially damaging allegations about its business conduct in a patent-theft and monopolization case pending in a federal court in Baltimore.

In a court filing unsealed late Monday, a small Silicon Valley software company called Burst.com Inc. alleges that Microsoft routinely destroyed much of its internal e-mail despite the many federal investigations and private suits it has faced in recent years, when it was often under court orders to preserve such communications.

Burst.com, whose early investors included the Irish rock band U2, filed its suit two years ago. It charges that Microsoft used Burst’s digital-media technology in Windows, solving a technical problem that was slowing the acceptance of Internet video. Burst also claims that Microsoft tried to patent the technology after a technical briefing from Burst, and altered Windows so that Burst’s product wouldn’t work. Microsoft denies the charges.

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Category: Finance, Web/Tech

Carnival of the Capitalists – October 25 2004

Cotc

Hello and welcome to this week’s Carnival of the Capitalists! We have an exciting and wide ranging line up, which I have tried to categorize (a mostly futile exercise, I might add) for your reading pleasure.

So with no further adieu, I present this week’s entrants:
If I missed your trackback, email it to thebigpicture -at- optonline -dot- net.

Internet

Russell Buckley of mobile-weblog.com wonders what the next 10 years on the internet might hold in store:
Sorry I missed your Birthday

“October 17th was the day that the web was officially born just 10 years ago. That day a company called Spry (later CompuServe then AOL) introduced a product called “Internet in a Box.” For the first time, you could trot down to a store, buy a software package, take it home and have everything you needed to connect to the Internet and the World Wide Web . . .”

Giselle A. Tesoro of OSCommerce Experts ponders the “Well-Formed Web Forms” and advises

“How to get your customers to fill you in – with the information you need in forms to be filled up. Let them form a good impression of you and your store – give them forms with function”

Wayne Hurlbert of Blog Business World thinking along similar lines, advises on Converting Visitors into Customers

“The frustration for Johnny was obvious. His website had strong visitor traffic numbers, he thought. Johnny’s site offered a complete line of very good, and highly reputable products. He thought he had set up an acceptable way to buy them online.

There were plenty of visitors arriving daily to make any online business a major success. The problem for Johnny was, despite the large number of people visiting his site, not many of them bought his products.”

Last of the internet series is Lipsticking‘s Yvonne DiVita’s entry: Jane Encourages Small Businesses

Blogs are becoming the “topic” of the day, all over the web, it seems. Jane
cannot open any newsletter, magazine, ezine, or even regular email, without
a question or comment on blogging present in the content.

We are delighted to see our favorite form of communication getting the
attention it deserves, but… the true purpose of web-logging is getting
lost in the rhetoric bouncing around the net.

Incidentally Yvonne gets a bonus mention for “Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online,” — I can’t comment on how effective that title may be — but it sure got my attention.

Alan Greenspan & the Federal Reserve

In my own entry (The Big Picture) to CotC this week, I advise investors to Ignore the Cheerleader-in-Chief

Rawdon Adams of Capital Chronicle discusses Mr. Greenspan’s Oil Choice

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Category: Economy, Finance, Web/Tech, Weblogs