BY | March 3, 2013

Apple stock price slide in recent months forced Tim Cook to respond. But it is not going to change anything in the short run. Apple CEO has not spoken about his future plans

Apple is the biggest technology company in the world. But developments in the last few months suggest that everything may not be as positive for it as the Cupertino based tech giant should have wished. Though its iPhones remain the highest selling smart-phones, its iPad tablets are the highest selling tablets and its MacBook remain the best laptops available in the market. It is no longer a cakewalk.

Unlike in the past when its products had great edge over its competitors’ products, things are not the same. Now the market is smart-phone and tablet is becoming very competitive and its products don’t have the same edge as they used to have in the past. iPhone in particular has become as good as any top class Android smart-phone, making it difficult for Apple to have the same stranglehold on the market as it had in the past.

Earlier everyone, with money, in his or her pocket used to go for Apple’s iPhone. But with market becoming very competitive, Nokia, BlackBerry, Samsung, HTC and even LG top handsets are as good if not better than what Apple offers in its iPhone brand of smart-phone. Samsung and other Android smart-phones with bigger display, and matching or even better specifications cost substantially less than Apple’s iPhone and now no one calls cheap rip-offs of Apple smart-phones.

Apple’s tablets iPad and iPad mini are still being sold in huge numbers, but the company seems under stress thanks to numerous launches of high quality tablets in the market in the last few months. Though these launches have still to eat away Apple’s shares, nonetheless there is increased pressure on the company to improve the quality of its products. Microsoft’s second generation laptop Surface Pro has given some tense time to Apple as it has upped the ante against Apple’s iPad by improving the quality several times.

These all factors seem to have affected Apple’s stock during the last several months. The stocks that at one time were breaking one barrier after the other are struggling now. The stocks that had crossed $700 mark have slipped backward and are trading at around $430-450 now. The analysts who had predicted the stocks to go beyond $800 or even $900 are eating their words and saying that basics have changed since their prediction.

Meanwhile there is so much panic in Apple investors, that its CEO Tim Cook was forced to publicly respond on the issue. While talking about the 30 percent fall in its stocks, Tim Cook said, “I don’t like it either…Neither does the board or management … but we’re focused on the long term.”

Market and analysts both seemed left out in the cold as Apple didn’t announce its plans for turnaround. Michael Yoshikami, the CEO of Destination Wealth Management “I absolutely did not expect him to say anything substantive…This is not where news will be made, but people were so desperate for news that they were hoping that something would come out of the shareholder meeting that was shocking and exciting”. Though Michael Yoshikami didn’t expect any concrete plans, but there were many who expected and desperately needed it.

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