Mild-Mannered Canadian Fury

Doug Stephen is Politely Peeved

Analysts Give Me Hives


Mon, 02 Apr 2012 «permalink»

Canaccord Genuity technology analyst Michael Walkley released a report that AppleInsider managed to dig up, stating that the Samsung Galaxy S II was the number two selling phone at AT&T and Sprint, the number one phone at T-Mobile, and that the Galaxy Nexus was number 3 at Verizon (Motorola held number 2 at Verizon). The iPhone 4S was number 1 at all carriers except T-Mobile, which doesn’t sell the iPhone 4S.

He then went on to say this:

”[…] our global checks also indicated another quarter of strong market share gains for Samsung, particularly in Europe and Asia. In fact, we believe Samsung’s strong smartphone portfolio across all price tiers will result in Samsung’s smartphone shipments increasing a remarkable 15%-plus sequentially during the seasonally weak March quarter.

Then, TUAW posted this link bait based off the AppleInsider article: Watch out, Apple – that Samsung in your mirror may be closer than you think. I’ll at least give TUAW credit for mentioning Walkley’s quote about the iPhone 4S outselling almost all of the other phones combined, but it feels like both of these articles missed two very key points:

  • Nowhere is the physical difference between 1st and 2nd place discussed. I realize that these are analyst projections, but I deplore this sort of conjecture because it’s wholly unquanitifiable. It is, for all intents and purposes, useless. These projections are used by Wall Street types in their models and strategies, but they have never once been correct about Apple because they don’t understand their business model. Apple has always been and always will be about real-world performance, quantifiable and measurable success. Not chicken bones and tea leaves.

  • In reporting Samsung’s share and numbers, the analyst in question tries to stack iPhone 4S sales against Samsung’s shipment numbers. This is a questionable metric to me. It’s widely known that Samsung frequently provides shipping numbers on units delivered to resellers in lieu of units sold to consumers. Apple sales numbers always reflect, to a significant level of confidence, the number of devices sold to consumers. If Samsung shipped a billion phones and tablets but only three people bought them, their quarterlies would show a billion units shipped. The fact that 9,999,999,997 of them are still on boxes on shelves is actually kind of a big deal. I’m not guaranteeing that these analyst numbers fall in line with Samsung’s history of relaying shipped vs. sold, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the case.

The truth is that many times analysts will find ways to report information in a way that makes it sound like what their clients want to here. And today, many people don’t understand Apple because they don’t’ fit in to the Standard Operating Procedure of your run-of-the-mill publicly traded tech company. And if people don’t understand something, they fear it.