Tim Cook: 'never fear cannibalization' and Apple's pipeline is 'chock full of incredible stuff'
Apple's CEO Tim Cook took to the airwaves yesterday to shed some light on the future vision of the company, after a record quarter but disappointing guidance made Wall Street's jumpy investors even more jittery, prompting huge stock selloff after hours.
Still, the gist of Tim Cook's comments was that the company doesn't really care about revenue for the "revenue's sake," but is rather positioning itself for providing the best products considering the current market conditions.
That's the usual pep talk you'd expect a CEO to grease investors with during a conference call, but when it comes from a company with close to $140 billion in cash and cash equivalents, one ought to listen what Tim Cook's opinion is on questions that trouble investors.
On the concern about the iPad mini introduction, which inevitably brought down Apple's gross margins, like every new product, including the iPhone 5, does, investors added the fear that the smaller, cheaper iPad will be "cannibalizing" Apple's own larger iPad sales, somewhat omitting that Apple's bread-and-butter is the iPhone, not the iPads, Macs or any other line, which don't contribute much to the net profit anyway. Even so, Tim cook felt obliged to comment:
I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us. Our core philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we don’t do it, someone else will. We know that iPhone has cannibalized some of our iPod business. That doesn’t worry us. We know that iPad will cannibalize some Macs. But that’s not a concern.
On iPad in particular, we have the mother of all opportunities because the Windows market is much, much larger than the Mac market. It is clear that it is already cannibalizing some. I still believe the tablet market will be larger than the PC market at some point. You can see by the growth in tablets and pressure on PCs that those lines are beginning to converge...
If somebody buys an iPad mini or an iPad, if it’s their first Apple product, a percentage of these people wind up buying another type of Apple product. If you remember what we had termed the halo effect for the iPod with the Mac, we’re very confident that will happen with the iPad as well.
As for the future direction of the company, which, by the way, just reported more than $13 billion of net profit for a single quarter, Tim Cook gave the obligatory optimistic view, saying that this year's portfolio will be "chock full" of "incredible stuff, "reiterating that "the most important thing to Apple is to make the best products in the world that enrich customers' lives." A nice timeline of what we can reasonably expect from Apple during 2013 can be seen in the graph below.