Dark clouds are gathering above Tim Cook’s head. Eighteen months after he took over the CEO position, Apple is expected to report a 2% drop in net income, or about $12.8 billion, the first drop according to Bloomberg’s data – except one quarter in 2003 – and report the slowest growth rate since 2009 with an 18% rise in sales.
The forecast comes on top of the nearly 30% drop of Apple shares since its peak recorded in September, due to reports of dropping demand for the iPhone.
But there is another potential reason for the decline: the rivalry between Samsung and Apple. The latter simply can’t catch up with the South Korean manufacturer, which has 80 smartphones for sale right now and it is already preparing the launch of its next generation flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S IV. In terms high-end smartphones, however, Samsung sales don’t perform as well as some may think, as the latest numbers and estimates show.
Apple, however, seems to perform well, despite analyst concerns evidenced by the latest statistics. Yet the main reason for analysts raising the red flag remains indications of Apple’s core market shrinking. Emerging markets, like China – Apple’s second biggest market according to Tim Cook – aren’t willing to pay the premium price for an iPhone, especially when considering that it’s an average worker’s six-weeks pay.
The majority of analysts doesn’t share worries about Apple’s growth, though. Some analysts, like Kathy Huberty of Morgan Stanley, suggest to investors that this slide is a good period to buy. But the recent signals suggest that Apple is moving away from the “hyper growth” period, given the simple fact that if growth continues at the same pace for another five years, it would reach the size of Australia’s gross domestic product.
So how did Apple perform under Tim Cook? The quarterly earnings report scheduled for tomorrow will solve the mystery of numbers.