I worry about modern society. When the internet went public barely a generation ago, it was heralded as the information super highway. Well, it’s not. It’s more like a misinformation super highway. The perfect example of how information moves quickly but gets mangled and distorted in the process is anything that resembles news about Apple.
Here’s the problem. Apple is a big company with hundreds of millions of customers, plenty of money in the bank, a cache of innovative and industry-changing products, and that makes it a target for anyone and everyone willing to distort fact or create a fictional replacement.
Why? The who, what, when, where, and why of facts are boring. Fiction and controversy sells newspapers. Alright, newspapers are dying dinosaurs, but yellow journalism is not. It’s alive and well and prospering on the internet where a clever but false headline can spread like wildfire, sufficient to cause a raging river of emotion to overflow, and a high flying stock to tank for no reason.
That’s what’s happened to Apple.
In just the past two years Apple’s stock has gone from riches to rags; once a darling, now a dumpster. How so? The stock market operates on emotion. Information from the internet seems to operate on emotion, too. Apple’s stock has been pummeled by 18 months of negative headlines, few of which are based in fact, most of which are pure rumor, innuendo, and mostly unsubstantiated.
I have friends, some of them who work on Wall Street, and many who own Macs, iPhones, and iPads, and they ask the same questions.
What can Apple do to survive? When will the company get rid of CEO Tim Cook? How did Apple let Samsung become the innovator?
With customers lining up to buy iDevices, and with $150-billion in the bank, Apple’s financials and prospects are the envy of every competitor, yet pundits and so-called journalists say Apple should be more like Samsung if it wants to prosper.
What evidence is there that Apple is beleaguered? The stock price?
Historically, Apple goes through two basic stages of a product’s life. Innovation and iteration. First, a new product hits the streets that is quickly criticized by critics (it’s what they do). Second, customers line up for a few years to buy said products, while Apple iterates each version, carefully polishing and honing the details that make customers love it even more.
The misinformation super highway can be friend or foe, a long stretch of highway where Apple blitzkriegs through an industry, or a parking lot of speed bumps that shakes the Apple vehicle to the core.
Right now, the Apple shine is shaken, but not necessarily stirred. If Tim Cook is a good CEO, he’ll maneuver the company through the speed bumps and back onto the highway. If he doesn’t, Apple will continue to suffer at the hands of those who created the misinformation super highway.
We’ll know which road Apple is on soon enough.