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苹果有麻烦了,解决办法很简单

Aaron Pressman 2019年01月07日

苹果上一财政季度的营收仅为840亿美元,远低于华尔街分析师预期的假日季915亿美元的收入。

你可能突然之间听说了一个关于这家市值排名第一、第二、第三、第四的美国公司的小消息。在这个骇人听闻的消息中,苹果CEO蒂姆·库克向投资者发布了一封1,370字的公开信,说公司收入意外下降了5%,然后又在CNBC上找了15分钟的借口。

苹果上一财政季度的营收仅为840亿美元,远低于华尔街分析师预期的假日季915亿美元的收入。也比去年创记录的883亿美元要低。库克称,收入下降的主要原因是在中国的销售下滑。苹果股价在过去三个月已经下跌了30%,上周四早盘又下跌了9%。这使得苹果的市值低于亚马逊和谷歌。(它之前已经落后于微软。)但苹果CEO表示,他对苹果的长期未来仍然“充满信心和兴奋”。

无论这对苹果、以及更宽泛的来说对科技行业意味着什么,这条消息无疑是对科技新闻行业的一大肯定。首先必须推荐彭博社专栏作家希拉·奥维德,他在几年前就开始批评库克没有警告投资者有诸多因素会导致智能手机销量增长停滞。独立的苹果专栏作家和博主约翰·格鲁伯发表了几篇文章,其中最引人注目的是,他将库克的冗长的借口与史蒂夫·乔布斯在2002年处理类似事件的方式进行了比较。投资者兼作家马利克则指出了一个更为广泛的问题,西方奢侈品牌如蒂芙尼、蔻驰以及现在的苹果等都过于依赖中国。

我也不得不火上添油。库克应对全球智能手机销售放缓(销量在2016年见顶)的主要策略很简单:提高价格。它与2017年推出的iPhone X时尚能奏效,但在2018年的产品线中却惨遭滑铁卢。到2018年年底,苹果和无线运营商提供的交易越来越利欲熏心。圣诞节前几天,当我走进当地的苹果商店时,屏幕上突然弹出一条苹果的通知:“你现在就可以用这款iPhone 7 Plus换一台新的XR,只要449美元。”对当前问题,一个简单回应应该是:降价。

或者正如智能手机市场分析师尼尔·沙阿在推特上所言,苹果在中国陷入困境,是因为“疯狂的定价适得其反”,再加上本土竞争者的成长。他总结称:“苹果仍然处于有利的位置,但需要重新调整其定价与价值(主张)战略。”希望蒂姆·库克能听到。(财富中文网)

译者:冉文忠

You may have heard overnight that there was a little news about the fourth-ranked U.S. company by market capitalization. In a blab-fest worthy of Dr. Phil, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a 1,370-word letter to investors about a surprise 5% revenue drop, then went on CNBC for another 15 minutes of excuse-making.

Instead of bringing in $91.5 billion in the holiday quarter, as Wall Street analysts expected, Apple’s revenue totaled just $84 billion. That’s down from an all-time record of $88.3 billion a year earlier. The main culprit was slipping sales in China, Cook said. Apple’s stock, already down 30% in the past three months, fell another 9% in morning trading on last Thursday. That pushed Apple’s market cap below those of Amazon and Google. (It was already trailing Microsoft.) But Apple’s CEO said he remains “confident and excited” about Apple’s long-term future.

Whatever the implications for the company and the wider tech sector, the news certainly brought out the best in the tech journalism sector. Recommended reads must start with Bloomberg columnist Shira Ovide, who chastises Cook for not warning investors years earlier about the forces conspiring to stall smartphone sales. Independent Apple columnist and blogger John Gruber put out several pieces, led by a particularly unflattering comparison between Cook’s wordy tumble of excuses and Steve Jobs handling of a similar episode in 2002. Investor and writer Om Malik sees a wider problem for Western luxury brands like Tiffany, Coach and, now, Apple—all of which have become too reliant on China.

I’ll add just one more log to the fire. Cook’s primary strategy for dealing with the global smartphone slowdown (unit sales peaked in 2016) has been a simple one: higher prices. It worked with 2017’s introduction of the iPhone X, but it appears to have failed badly for 2018’s lineup. By the end of 2018, Apple and wireless carriers were offering increasingly lucrative trade in deals. When I walked into a local Apple store a few days before Christmas, a notification from Apple popped up on my screen along the lines of “You could trade in this iPhone 7 Plus right now, and get a new iPhone XR for just $449.” One simple response to the current problems: lower prices.

Or as smartphone market analyst Neil Shah put it on Twitter, Apple’s China struggles arose because of “insane pricing which has backfired” plus improving local competition. “Apple still is in a great position & needs to re-calibrate its pricing vs value (proposition) strategy,” he concludes. Hopefully, Tim Cook is listening.

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