Following computer maker, Dell’s latest earning and revenue report, Mad Money’s Jim Cramer panned the company for their below expectations report. CNBC had attributed Dell’s latest poor performance on poor management, but Cramer had other ideas entirely – Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
During Cramer’s loud noise and kitschy sound effects program about day trading for the layman, Cramer posited that Dell has failed to create any sort of presence in the mobile market (this is true, even if you own a Dell Streak). More to the point, Cramer offered up the following, “Why have a desktop, laptop, and a phone when Apple’s mobile device make owning a laptop redundant? That’s the reason why notebooks and netbooks seem to be going the way of the typewriter.”
It’s no surprised that mobile OS’s have been a disruptive technology and has essentially changed the way we think of computing, however, Cramer seems to be missing the forest for the trees here. Cramer’s argument requires that we ignore the fact that Apple has continued to show sales growth in both desktops and laptops. And yes, the iPhone is currently Apple’s cash cow but the growth trend goes back to late 90’s and throughout the 2000’s; long before the iPhone was a “thing.”
The truth lies in a often reported mix of multiple small successes that has made Apple the most valued company on Wall Street. For more than a decade, Apple has taken an aggressive stance on control their products from design to supply chain to retail. It’s no accident that Apple has not only been successful in each of these spaces, they’ve revolutionized how we think of each industry.
Since the introduction of the first iMac to the latest MacBook Air to the iPad, Apple has managed to create an elegant package that meets or exceeds their customers’ expectations. Their ability to exert so much control over the manufacturing process has only strengthened their ability to make these products in record time and meet the ever growing demand for them; all without sacrificing too much in terms of build quality. We can read spec sheets but when you pick up a $1,000 Apple laptop it feels like an expensive piece of kit. The same can’t be said about their competition.
Apple has even made it (too) easy to part ways with your hard earned cash as well. A trip to the Apple Store is a retailers wet dream: a customer walks in, they’re instantly greeted by friendly sales people and a store that’s equal parts futuristic and warm, and if prepared to spend, can be out of the store with product without necessarily having to wait on a line.
The sum of all these part are what has given Apple the perceived ability to print money; they are far from a one (or even three product) company.
That isn’t take away anything from how Apple’s iOS devices have completely changed the way we communicate, or the obscene amounts of cash that have made their way into their books, but the iPhone isn’t the reason for Dell’s (or HP’s) woes. Dell and HP spent far too long competing in a race to the bottom price wise; unfortunately it’s that race to the bottom that has stunted their ability to create quality products that would inspire consumers to the store (and those stores aren’t exactly known for their knowledgable and friendly staff).