Saturday, January 13, 2007

Shiny Apple

Our two-year-old iMac G5 is trouble-free.

A good example of an organization that is both effective and secretive is Apple Computer. We have been Apple devotees since 1981, and a sizeable part of our garage has been devoted to storing equipment (Apple III, Mac LC, Mac clones, plus manuals, software, and peripherals) that is long obsolete.

In the early 1990’s we made a small investment in Apple stock in the forlorn hope that we could recover a few of the many dollars we had spent on Apple’s premium-priced products. But the company and the stock continued to drift, the value of our shares was halved, and Apple seemed destined to follow Osborne Computer, Digital Equipment, and Prime Computer into the slagheap of electronics history.

Ten years ago founder Steve Jobs returned and transformed the company from a dying niche-player in personal computers to a leading-edge design, entertainment, and electronics powerhouse. iBooks, Powerbooks, operating system (OSX) updates, iMacs, and, of course, iPods and iTunes flowed out of Cupertino in an unending stream of innovation and style. This week’s announcements of the iPhone and iTV marked Apple’s full-fledged foray into communications and video entertainment, areas in which its efforts had heretofore been modest.

Steve Jobs is famously mercurial, autocratic, and idiosyncratic, but he has made nary a misstep in producing hit after hit. His value to Apple was made evident when the stock plunged to the low 80’s a few weeks ago when there was a possibility that he would have to step down due to a stock options backdating scandal. Now that it appears that Steve Jobs was not at fault, and in the wake of the product announcements, the stock closed at $94.62 yesterday. As an owner of Apple stock, I say give him whatever he wants. He is one CEO who is underpaid.

Apple stock has slightly outperformed Google's over the past two years.

[Note: Steve Jobs may dominate multi-billion industries, but he’s been stymied for six years in his effort to rebuild his house. Here in San Mateo County, we don’t care who you are or how much money you’ve got.]
© 2007 Stephen Yuen

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