The New Big 3: Amazon, Apple and Samsung

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Growing up everyone knew the Big 3 as GM, Ford and Chrysler. Cars were the world  and the engines to economic growth. There are more than 90,000 Interstate miles in the USA alone built for cars.

Fast forward to 2012 and the Big 3 are now, Apple and Samsung. Instead of 4000 pound hunks of materials with engines and thousands of parts provided by hundreds of suppliers, the new economy is focused in the cloud. There is no longer any need for the 90,000 Interstate miles. Heck, there is no need for cars if you are talking about the economy. And if you really think about, there is no need for stores, malls, parking lots and everything else built in the 20th century.

It’s kind of scary.

Best Buy and Target both recently announced they are matching online prices. Walmart recently announced same day delivery. And whom do they all compete with?

Barron’s magazine recently featured the death of the PC on the cover and even featured a gravestone. Who needs PC’s anymore? Remember the Big 3 during the 1980’s to 2000? It was the Wintel: Microsoft, Intel and Dell. When was the last Dell computer you bought? Now everyone uses their smartphones or tablets to go online, text, access Facebook, make reservations, play games and so forth. And whom does those companies compete with? Apple and Samsung.

It’s more than scary.

ABC Warehouse, a Michigan based retailer of electronics and appliances recently started selling mattresses. Really? What do mattresses have to do with TV’s? Oh, you watch TV in bed so why not offer mattresses! Fact is, they have these huge stores and need something to put in them that can’t ship so easily. Mattresses appear to be the cure. But for how long?

All Apple devices connect to the iCloud. Amazon makes more money in the cloud business than selling goods out of its distribution centers. Samsung uses Google’s Android technology for FREE to power up its phones and also utilizes the cloud for storage. Remember thumb drives? Remember discs? Remember battery back-ups? Yikes, I still remember CD’s, DVD’s, cassettes and VHS’s.

It’s Halloween all the time.

What’s left that the Big 3 can’t touch? Food and services. But wait, is testing same day delivery of food in Seattle. But wait, SIRI is now accepting reservations and carry-out orders at your favorite restaurants. However, they can’t cook the food or provide an experience, yet. Services are also safe such as medical, health, beauty, dry cleaning, auto repair and so forth. Apparently those 20th century things have no interest to the Big 3 at this time. Eventually though, time will tell.

I’m happy to be in the beauty business.

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. MSU and the Detroit Lions. Really? At least we have the TIGERS! Go TIGERS!

Apple Posts Record Numbers

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I’m not a financial guy nor is this blog intended to give financial information about companies.

But Apple is not normal in any meaning of the word and just moments ago announced numbers that are impossible to believe.

This comes right from Barron’s:

    Apple (AAPL) shares this afternoon have been halted ahead of its fiscal Q1 report.

    Analysts are modeling $39.14 billion in revenue and $10.16 per share in profit. Apple’s own forecast, offered back on October 18th, had called for $37 billion in revenue and $9.30 per share.

    Update: Apple reported revenue in the three months ended in December rose to $46.3 billion, yielding EPS of $13.87 per share.

    The company sold 37 million iPhones in the quarter, 15.4 million iPads, 5.2 million Mac computers, and 15.4 million iPods, it said. The Mac and iPod numbers seem to be in line with Street expectations, but those iPhone and iPad numbers are way, way above even the most bullish expectations.

    CEO Tim Cook remarked, “We’re thrilled with our outstanding results and record-breaking sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs. Apple’s momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline.”

    For the current quarter, Apple side-stepped its tradition of “conservative” forecasts, projecting revenue of $32.5 billion, and EPS of $8.50 a share, above the Street consensus is $32.07 billion and $8.01 per share.

    37 Million iPhones. That is 12.333 million a month; 3 million a week; 440,000 a day; 18,000 per hour; 300 per minute.

    15.4 Million iPads. About half the above numbers.

    Yes, the world is officially Apple-ized and as you know, so am I and so is tng worldwide. We are not alone.

    It’s a good day to be Tim Cook.

    Happy Tuesday!

Steve Jobs, Visionary, Dies at 56

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Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955. Bill Gates was born on October 28, 1955. I was born a day after.

First diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, Jobs fought a brilliant battle and held true to his vision: Think differently. Never did Jobs waiver when others thought he was delirious. Jobs always thought that we are on this planet for a very short time and if you have an idea, go for it.

I think about Jimi Hendrix and his signature album “Are You Experienced.” I think about the Doors and Jim Morrison with their breakout song, “Light My Fire.” I think about John Lennon and what the Beatles could have been. There are many more artists that died way too young (the age of 27 seems to be the mystical age for some reason). Even Elvis, look what he brought to the music world.

Early deaths are tragic. When they involve visionaries, leaders, game-changers and icons, it is even more tragic.With musicians, we get to enjoy their music for eternity. Heck, Elvis makes more money dead than alive to this day. The Beatles are just as popular today all because music never dies.

But Steve Jobs was no musician. He was a genius (very tough word to spell correctly) and perhaps the best genius of the past 20 years. What Jobs leaves behind is a world that has changed because of his legacy. How many learned of Jobs passing reading the news on their iPhone or iPad? Millions. And what device do we use most today to listen to the musicians I named above? The iPod.

I bought my first Mac in 1992. It was very expensive and the software to run it was costly as well. But it changed the way we created catalogs and advertisements. The Mac replaced T-squares, Exacto knives, and sticky type that if there was a mistake had to be redone. One of the programs that created this magic was Adobe’s Photoshop. Here is a bit of history:

n 1987, Thomas Knoll, a PhD student at the University of Michigan began writing a program on his Macintosh Plus to display grayscale images on a monochrome display. This program, called Display, caught the attention of his brother John Knoll, an Industrial Light & Magic employee, who recommended Thomas turn it into a fully-fledged image editing program. Thomas took a six month break from his studies in 1988 to collaborate with his brother on the program, which had been renamed ImagePro.[5] Later that year, Thomas renamed his program Photoshop and worked out a short-term deal with scanner manufacturer Barneyscan to distribute copies of the program with a slide scanner; a “total of about 200 copies of Photoshop were shipped” this way.[6]

During this time, John traveled to Silicon Valley and gave a demonstration of the program to engineers at Apple and Russell Brown, art director at Adobe. Both showings were successful, and Adobe decided to purchase the license to distribute in September 1988.[5] While John worked on plug-ins in California, Thomas remained in Ann Arbor writing program code. Photoshop 1.0 was released in 1990 for Macintosh exclusively.[7]

Steve Jobs was responsible for more magic than anyone can imagine. The things we take for granted are because Steve Jobs knew what we wanted before we knew what we wanted.

Today is a sad day indeed. Yesterday Apple released their latest version of the iPhone and it’s latest trick is that it everyone will soon have their own personal assistant. Ask the phone what the weather is and the phone verbally responds back with not only the temperature, but if it is sunny, raining, cloudy and so forth. Many were disappointed it wasn’t named the iPhone 5. But the iPhone 4S will sell millions (my guess the 5 was delayed due to NFC technology issues and delay of the iCloud).

No doubt Jobs will be with us for at least the next 2-3 years when we see new Apple innovations. What happens afterwards is now up to Tim Cook and the Apple team. But like Einstein, Edison, and Disney, Apple without Steve Jobs will never be the same. At least we have the Mac and all the iTools he helped create. And like Joplin playing “Bye Bye Baby,” we too will play songs, text, watch video and TV and live our lives thanking Steve Jobs each and every day. If Joplin were alive today, she could have updated her song to “Bye Bye Steve.”

Sad Thursday.

Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO

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People have paid more than $1M to have lunch with Warren Buffett. I would rather have lunch with Steve Jobs.

For those with short term memories, Jobs was kicked out of his own company back in 1984 (back when typewriters were the laptop of the day). He eventually came back.

Fast forward to 2004 and Steve Jobs announced he had cancer and left the company once again. But miraculously, Jobs returns and the rest is history.

Apple is the most valuable company in the WORLD, Exxon Mobil is second. Can you imagine that an iPod, iPhone, iPad and MAC are move valuable than all the oil and gas assets of Exxon Mobil? They are.

I wish I knew Steve Jobs. Unlike Bill Gates who for some strange reason checked out long time ago, Jobs and Apple have been one. All its employees are “Apple-ized,” cult-like loyal to the company. Jobs has created a world in which everyone can participate in. Sony invented the Walkman but Jobs invented truly portable music. Thanks to Jobs, I run with music. Do you recall the Sony Discman? YIKES! Do you remember the Sony Trinitron TV? It’s no wonder Sony is less than 10% of the value of Apple.

Jobs defied the corporate world. He made products for individuals, not corporations. Companies that make products for corporations are in big trouble. Look at both Dell and H-P. Neither want to be in the PC business anymore. Can you imagine? They want to be in the software business where real profits are made. IBM who invented the PC gave up long ago and sold to its PC division to the Chinese. No would be surprised if H-P did the same. PC’s are commodities and will go the way of typewriters. But not Macs. In fact, Mac sales are exploding.

Jobs took the phone and that’s when Motorola hung up. The iPhone is the #1 selling smartphone and the Blackberry is close to extinction. There are more than 400,00 apps alone and growing daily.

And the iPad? Not even Jobs could have imagined. Remember the Newton? Jobs got hammered for that one and proof positive that one must fail and fail often to succeed.

For Steve Jobs to give up his CEO role, his cancer must be getting worse. Tim Cook is well respected and done a heck of job himself. Jobs will still be Chairman and he has the company running well for at least the next few years. But Apple without Jobs will be different. There is no other CEO, founder, leader quite like him.

I miss him already. We will all miss his signature black mock long sleeve t-shirt and jeans on stage showing off his latest invention. We will miss his genius. We will miss his inspiration. But what we will miss most was his ability to allow ordinary individuals the freedom to listen, to talk, to play (#1 game company too), to express. Roy Disney comes to mind as another CEO/Founder that did the same thing in his industry. Today, Disney is still a great brand. And hopefully with Tim Cook at the helm, Apple will be Apple for many more years to come.

We certainly hope so.

Happy Thursday!

Apple’s iPad is iMagical


Steve Jobs is not a genius. Steve Jobs is not brilliant. In fact, Steve Jobs most likely is not human. In fact, we can put Steve Jobs and James Cameron together and create an entire new country or better yet, planet, that only God knows what could become of that. Or perhaps another question is, "Is Steve Jobs God?"

On sale late March for a mere $499, Jobs has once again shocked the world with yet another magical device that millions and billions of people won’t be able to live without.

The iPad does so many things that were previously unthinkable that one should ask what the iPad won’t do. The days of turning on a cell phone and making a call are like putting a piece of paper in a fax machine and pressing a button to send.

The iPad can literally destroy the PC industry overnight. It sucks to be Michael Dell today. At only 1/2" thick and weighing in at less than 24 ounces, can you imagine anyone taking a laptop on a plane to watch a movie? Can you imagine anyone not tooling around with one because it’s just too cool?

Not only can you choose from 140,000 app’s, there are a dozen new ones that allow you to create photo albums, documents and other stuff like a pro.

I can go on and on but there are better places to read about iPad’s features than here. The thing is, Jobs has created a phenomenon unlike any other in our lifetime.

Sure, IBM introduced the PC in 1982; the first fax in 1989; the first cell phone in 1995; the first MP3 music player 1999; but nothing like this.

If Avatar can do $2 Billion in two months, what will the iPad do in its first year? Too bad Jobs couldn’t get the device to Cameron in time for production of Avatar. Then truly the God’s would have spoken.

Happy Thursday!