Blaming a weakened economy in China for lackluster sales of the iPhone, Apple's CEO Tim Cook sought to explain their huge drop in stock value this week, and as such, Apple has stopped trading until they figure out what's going on. That's not a good thing, but it's pretty clear that the company hasn't really had a good sales experience over the last quarter or two, and Cook expects the next quarter results to be no better. Leo says it was only last August that Apple became the first company to be worth a trillion dollars.
1. Facebook had a terrible year, starting with leaked information to Cambridge Analytica of up to 87 million users. It lost 19% value, up to $100 billion, the biggest loss in the history of the stock market. Mark Zuckerberg lost $40 billion personally. And there was congressional investivations. All told, Facebook had 21 scandals centered around privacy violations. It was as bad a year as Facebook could get.
2. Apple lost 20% of its value. It went from being the first trillion dollar company to no longer holding that title.
In what could simply be a case of hitting a speed wall, the latest sales figures indicate that smartphone sales began a decline in 2017, with sales in the US declining for the first time in 2018. Market saturation is nearing 100%, and everyone who wants a smartphone has a smartphone. Phones are now like cars, which you don't really replace as often anymore, since the new phone won't be significantly better.
Parliament in Australia is pushing through an anti-encryption law that will make it not only illegal to use encrypted communications, but will also give law enforcement and other government authorities the power to use malware to crack an encrypted network. Leo says it will endanger the security of anyone using an online service and obvious violates an individual's privacy rights. Russia has a similar law, as does England.
259 selfie deaths in 137 incident globally, is the latest tech story going. Male deaths outpace females 3-1. With the majority happening in India. Most are falling to their deaths, or getting too close to a dangerous situation like traffic, or wild animals. So much so that parks are starting to carve out No Selfie zones.
The moral here ... be safe.
Apple announced this week that it would stop reporting quarterly sales reports during their earnings calls. They will cease letting investors know how many iPads, iPhones, MacBooks, etc. leaving them to simply guess. Leo says that how well a business is doing is directly tied to their sales report, and it may be that since the iPhone grew 0% this quarter, that Apple is concerned how reporting sales affects their stock prices. But Apple also derives a great percentage of their incoming from services.
Bloomberg published a story that China's PRC had installed a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice on all Elemental SuperMicro Motherboard, giving them access to a treasure trove of corporation and national security secrets. These boards are used widely in corporations and even the Department of Defense. Leo says the article was well researched, well sourced, but the day after it was published, everyone, including corporations where 17 unidentified sources worked, have denied it. Even the US Department of Homeland security and the UK CyberSecurity Ministry.
Calling Minecraft the "Lego" of the 21st century, Leo says that Microsoft has created an education edition of the game for computer programming, chemistry, and a host of other teaching tools within the game itself. It's also available on the iPad. Leo says it's a very cool idea and a great way to learn science, technology and math (STEM).
Intel has run up against a wall in Moore's Law that said that the number of transistors in a processor would double every 18 months. In the last few years, Intel has been up against a wall, not being able to double the speed. But a recent breakthrough has created a transistor using a single atom! That will enable processors to become faster and smaller, using very little energy.
This week, Apple's stock rose to the point where Apple became the first company on Wall Street worth a trillion dollars. Leo says while that makes for a great headline, it's really a dubious barometer, because Apple has all the money it's gotten from stock. Any further rising and lowering of the stock is beneficial for those who buy and sell it. But what the value does indicate, is that when Apple offers stock to talent as a perk, it's worth far more to them. And engineers are thinking about that. Still, Apple is the first to do it, so it's historic.