Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's not over until Klondike Kate sings

See here.

And is it just me, or did the losing Klondike Kate contestants show up at the Queen of the Snows competition?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Last one out, turn off the lights

Well, is Palm's CEO Holigan still so sure that the " "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in''? Seems Palm is closing virtually all their stores. Must be because sales are killing?

The company's biggest threats may be its rivals. Research in Motion's BlackBerry smartphones have proven extremely popular with businessmen and other professionals, while the general public is taking to Apple's iPhone, favored for its storage and simpler user interface despite a $400 pricetag. Analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis argues that while Palm is by no means out of the fight, the company's prospects may depend on the release of a new Linux plaftorm, expected by the end of the year.

Linux. Yeah, that'll do it.


RIM, are you watching this?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

OK, Chew On This: Did CDs Survive iTunes?

Apparently not. Money quotes: '"I sure am going to miss the CD," said Paul McCartney, whose Beatles are one of the last groups to refuse to sell their albums on iTunes. "On the bright side, new technology means that Beatles lovers now can buy our albums for the third or fourth time."' Among reasons to ditch CDs: "No more cellophane wrap. Those genius scientists figured out how to cram 10,000 songs onto an iPod small enough to hold in your butt crack, but could never invent a plastic wrap on CDs that didn't take minutes to get off, dangerously heighten your blood pressure and occasionally require stitches when you resorted to scissors."

Will Netflix Survive iTunes Movie Rentals?

That is what Seeking Alpha wants to know.


Apple Earnings Sucked Into Black Hole

and the focus was on guidance, released into a blinding snowstorm and hastily gathering energy. Sell orders triggered more sell orders. Prices collapsed as a distressed market fed on itself.

Risk management and stop loss systems around the world had been triggered by Societe General's sell actions early in the week.

Financial institutions with liquidity problems have put their traders on a "short leash", leading to imposition of daily trading limits which shorten investment horizons. Think of troubled hedge funds and institutions. Naturally they will take measures to protect themselves from what has increasingly become daily news shocks (bank write downs, rogue traders, subprime/housing news, falling dollar, dogs and cats living together).

Naturally such institutional actions exacerbate volatility in markets.

So, you betcha, this driving wind is fear of the future -- fear of liquidity shocks, fear of recession and falling consumer spending, fear of rising oil and commodity prices, etc. These events may or may not come to pass but fear of them causes a run on the equity market today.

And, don't cha know, many good companies with excellent fundamentals and growth prospects are caught up in the blizzard.

But snow melts. Spring will arrive. Now it's time to venture across the river and visit Winter Carnival.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The French Connection

Rogue: Having savage or destructive tendencies

French Rogue: Ditto, on a global scale

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bottom is in

How do I know? Client emails which include:

•Wall Street is nothing but a bunch of crooks!
•I am writing a letter to Apple IR!
•Why isn't Steve releasing a PR to defend us?
•I just threw up.

I saved a spotlight search that looks for these terms in my inbox, and sure enough they coincide with the bottom of the other aapl selloffs.

Nutsy Cuckoo

I got an interesting response during today's conference call to my question about the high end consumer's health as it relates to Apple's projected business results in 2008. Oppenheimer pointed out that revenue growth was 27% in US and 46% OUS last quarter.

So . . . any other consumer products companies with these results in the holiday quarter? Anybody? Bueller?

His point: Apple showed outstanding strength in the face of a challenging economic environment. Is it likely to continue?

Judy says the market reaction after hours was "nutsy cuckoo".

I agree. Time to go shopping.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Weekend Musings

Why do so many business books use the word "Shark" in the title? Viv noted this phenomenon the other day, in titles such as Invest like a Shark, Swim with the Sharks, The Way of the Shark, Snipers, Shills and Sharks, Shark Tank, How to Beat the Sharks, The White Sharks of Wall Street, How to Beat the Money Sharks, Doing Business with Sharks, Flame-broiled Shark etc., etc. She recommended "Shark Repellent Investing: Avoid Nasty Bites in Your Portfolio" as my first book title. She says that the book will "write itself", and a shark title all but guarantees sales.

Hey, does anyone in management notice that the twelve hour, "your attendance required" seminar called "Work and Life Balance" creates twelve hours of catch-up work at the office? Not to mention a bottom- line deficit of 24 hours of your life wasted -- 24 hours you'll
never get back.

Munster Nation Tip: Always hire good people with rare and unusual talents (multi-linguists, track stars, hog-calling champions). This might not seem important at first. But at some future date a uniquely-talented employee will use theirability to give you an edge. Recent example: I have sharpshooter (extremely far) eyesight. This comes in handy at MacWorld keynotes. I can read the plethora of notes hastily scribbled in the margins on Steve's script, way up there on the stage.

As practiced as they seem, these talks are really off-the-cuff fare, and "loose cannon" Steve's handler's are worried he might lose it and go off-script. After all, the guy is past 50, so anything can happen. Anyway, to prevent disaster the margins are filled with stuff like "don't reveal iPhone sales numbers x,xxx,xxx!" and "NO telling Macbook sales y,yyy,yyy!" and "NO, don't mention products Z and ZZ yet!".

Oh yes. Corn is still in season.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Andrew says he won't miss the house flipping channel

that he was forced to purchase with his bundled cable TV package. Judy says she never watched Spike TV either. But they anted up for those lovely "value added" channels because they're included with the "package" they needed to get the one channel they really wanted.

Thanks to iTunes, we can buy 99 cent singles.

Like iTunes, with over 4 billion sold to date, Apple TV will become the new standard for on-demand video consumption.

MacWorld keynotes are as much about what Jobs doesn't say as they are about what he explicitly presents.

Viv says he's like a great mystery writer. He plants clues, and the savvy reader is richly rewarded.

Read, Munster Nation, read well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stay iTuned

To recap:

Netflix or Blockbuster?

Blu Ray or HD-DVD?


Well done Steve. You've herded the Hollywood Cats.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Roughly Drafted "gets it"

"With Bonjour Ready, it will be as if the web transforms from a huge cloud of millions of websites to also become a series of local clouds that vend tailored information and services. Other hardware vendors can barely manage to develop local web administration pages for their wireless routers and other devices; Apple has already solved the problem of simple administration of its AirPort devices, including remote management of lots of devices. Apple’s lead in wireless networking is often overlooked. It shouldn’t be."

Full article here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not that I believe in conspiracy theories

but here's another one. In the WSJ I'm quoted as saying: "Given the fact that the pace of Apple product improvements is between two times and four times faster than PC-based products, Apple buyers will always have a higher degree of buyer's remorse," says Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. What I really said: "Given the fact that the pace of Apple product improvements is between two times and four times faster than PC-based products, Apple will always have higher-pedigreed buyers, of course."

Uff Duh.

Don't Panic, Munster Nation

The guy at the Star Tribune tried to paraphrase what I said and, well, what can I say? He gets it wrong sometimes. Viv reminds me that any publicity is good publicity. Right. Here's the article. Anyway, please visit these guys at MacWorld. They're from North Dakota. They need your support.

So there's a line where Lee writes, "Munster says he finds it odd that Ntractive would target such a small market" (small businesses on Macs). What I really said was "I find my iPod attractive and the competition targets such a small market." You see how things get messed up in these dang phone interviews. In their defense, the Strib cut their staff a while back and they're doing their reporting on the cheap. What can I say except that he did follow it with a statement about how Apple market share is growing. But then again, he also omitted my money quote: '' Microsoft Vista is a dog that don't hunt."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Met with Paul at APS

Well after Paul's email about the Apple Peripherals Show, I thought I'd go take a look for myself. Yep, it's just like he said, and I told clients as much as Elmer Fud blogged about.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

GS Plate Techtonics, Part 2

So Goldman tried for another volcanic event today. Since you've been reading this blog you all know how dependable their calls are.

Anyway, today they said we're in a recession. Apple stock went up 5%.

Honestly those guys don't know obsidian from pumice.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Starbucks' Extreme Makeover

It's today's office pool (courtesy of Judy).

What will Howard Schultz, comeback Starbucks CEO, do to "re-ignite the emotional attachment with customers"?

My choices are:

A) No brainer stuff: Shut down underperforming stores (Shhh. We've saturated the market for pricey lattes, but don't tell the shareholders)
B) Low risk: Offer hand waxing, back waxing, pedicure, or other spa "mini-services" with each purchase of two beverages
C) Medium risk: Free windshield wash and tire air pressure check at the drive thru window
D) Big Time Risky: Replace Tall, Grande and Venti with Small, Medium, Large beverage size choices
E) Huge innovation: Offer free internet access instead of T-Mobile restricted

There's also an "other" (recommend your own makeover idea) category. Anyway we don't cover SBUX, so I'm thinking of investing a dollar here. I'd appreciate any Munster Nation ideas.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Gates: See Ya

Here's what he had for the MS-Faithful tonight:

"The trend here is clear: all media and entertainment will be software-driven. The first digital decade has been fantastically successful."

Bill, Bill, Bill. No matter how good the driver is, every driver needs a great vehicle to drive. And that's why Apple is coming on like gangbusters. They've got the software and the hardware. Maybe it's best you watch this next chapter from the cheap seats. I'm sure Ballmer will do just fine.

Take care, Bill.

The writing is on the wall when

the owner of Down in the Valley indie record stores (Steve Hyland, Minneapolis) says "My kid's got 1,000 songs in his MP3, and he didn't buy any of them from me."

See here.

10 to 1 he could keep his store going if he transitioned to Apple peripherals and iTunes cards. Even the big boys like JVC know that's the way to survive.

Stay iTuned.

CES=School Science Fair, or Apple Third-Party Show?

From Paul...

Hey Gene, decided to rent a car a drive to the CES. I took a walk around yesterday, and let me tell you it's bleak Gene. The stuff looks old. Fujitsu has a tablet out that looks like the Pismo! Remember that Powerbook? Here look:

So where does that put the designers.... about seven years behind Apple? Yikes. Actually I think the Pismo still looks better, don't you? But hey at least that's more up to date than Grundig. They've got a "new" shortwave radio out.

There's a bunch of little robots and helicopters all over the place. The whole thing reminds of my grade school science fair. On the plus side, it's starting to become more of a showcase for third party Apple stuff from companies that want to reach folks who might not go to macworld. Here, check this out:

Gates is speaking tonight. I guess it's his last time. They've been trying to paper the hall all day to get him an audience.

Well, that's it Gene. I'll let you know if I spot anything good that isn't somehow related to Apple. Not looking too likely though. Hey maybe they'll just change the name next year to the Apple Peripherals Show (APS).


Friday, January 4, 2008

Just when you thought corn was out of season

Well what do you know! My grocer just got a truckload of sweet corn in, and it's on sale!

You know my mantra with corn sales: Don't load the cart all at once.

Happy shopping.

Doug, Doug, Doug

Pop Quiz time Doug Kass, based on your oh-so-bearish article.

So, what do the PC companies do? Probably add lower prices to new features. Macs are expensive. A recession is probably coming. "Cool" may be nice, but not when a consumer can't afford it.

Which is tougher: (a) reversing your loss of market share with wannabe products that can't get any cheaper because your margins are already stretched too thin, or (b) going from 5% market share to 10% with the best computers and added-value software in the world?

Did you pay any attention to what was happening in December? For God's sake man, pay attention during the next two weeks. More strikeouts at CES, and then Steve will step to the plate with the bases loaded.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hastings of Netflix joins the Denial Boyz

"If (Apple) does what has been reported, they will reach a very big market," Hastings said. "But the addition of Apple to the rental market isn’t causing us to lose any sleep." ~Reed Hastings, Netflix

"The co-CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the popular line of BlackBerry email devices, said in an interview at RIM's Waterloo headquarters that he's not losing sleep over Apple's efforts to upend the wireless market in much the same way as its wildly popular iPod music devices changed the way people acquire and listen to music." ~Jim Balsillie, RIM

"We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,'' he said. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in.'' ~Ed Holigan, Palm

"We're expecting a good fight but they're coming out with something [iPod Shuffle] that's five generations older. It's our first generation MuVo One product feature, without display, just have a (shuffle feature). We had that — that's a four-year-old product. So I think the whole industry will just laugh at it, because the flash people — it's worse than the cheapest Chinese player. Even the cheap, cheap Chinese brand today has display and has FM. They don't have this kind of thing, and they expect to come out with a fight; I think it's a non-starter to begin with." ~Sim Wong Hoo, Creative

"Screw the nano," said Zander. "What the hell does the nano do? Who listens to 1,000 songs? People are going to want devices that do more than just play music, something that can be seen in many other countries with more advanced mobile phone networks and savvy users," he said. ~Ed Zander, (formerly) Motorola

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance," said Ballmer. "It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get." ~Steve Ballmer, Microsoft

""We're going to be communicating to people that it's stupid to buy an iPod." ~William Gorog, Napster

And of course....when asked what he would do if he were Apple's CEO:

“What would I do? I’d shut it down,” replied Michael Dell, “and give the money back to the shareholders.” ~Michael Dell

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

CNBC's new year's resolution

Take a look at the "guests" on CNBC this morning: Najarian, Cramer, Deutsch. Hey, don't they all have shows on..... CNBC? A little too inbred for my tastes. I think they better get back to the markets. Having me on the show soon would be a good start.

Think Fox has 'em a little shook up?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Choices, choices

Netflix or Blockbuster?

HD DVD or Blu-ray?

Apple. Stay iTuned.