The Apple Investor: Board Member Mickey Drexler Dumps His Whole Stake

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Apple Shares Set To Blast Through $300 And Beyond, Says Morgan Stanley
(Business Insider)
In a note out last week, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty outlined how different iPhone product scenarios could affect Apple’s market share and stock price. She outlines one scenario in which Apple eventually starts selling entry-level iPhones with no subsidy at all for a $99 retail price. Apple’s revenue-per-phone would decline, but Apple’s market share would increase, and the company would be able to drive much higher revenues from ancillary products. Under this assumption, Apple stock could shoot past $300 and maybe even past $400, Huberty predicts. We wouldn’t peg this as the most likely scenario in the next few years, but anything’s possible. It’s an interesting idea that could be disruptive if it ever happens (click here to see a few slides with more assumptions).

Morgan Stanley Analyst Flip Flops On iPhone Demand And Apple Stock–Now She’s Wildly Bullish
(Apple Insider)
Katy Huberty, Morgan Stanley’s Apple analyst, certainly got a ton of press last week (from CNet to eWeek) with her various iPhone predictions. However, Neil Hughes at Apple Insider would like to point out that in the recent past, Katy was quite negative on Apple stock. Citing weak demand for high-priced iPhones and a deteriorating consumer environment, she downgraded the stock at $105.26 in September 2008. However she upgraded the stock at $130.78 in May 2009 arguing that the market is underestimating demand for iPhones. Granted, the stock did hit new lows in between those ratings changes in early January 2009 ($78.20). As a hedge this time, she’s just throwing out various scenarios and you pick the one you like best.

Apple Board Member Drexler Bearish, Sells Entire Apple Stake
J. Crew helmer as well as director at Apple, Mickey Drexler, sold his entire direct stake in Apple (20,000 shares) for an average price of $198.43 or close to $4 million (he still holds 20,000 shares in a trust and has exercisable options to purchase 90,000 more shares). The sale comes at a peculiar time as the company readies to launch the iPad. Perhaps Drexler is financing a remodeling of his Hamptons Andy Warhol estate.  (Or perhaps he knows something other Apple investors don’t.)

Apple TV Is Still An Embarrassment, It’s Begging For An App Store
(Mac Talk)
In its current state, Apple TV is nothing more than the aspirations of many engineers that never materialised. Why did it fail? One guest contributor at Mac Talk believes it’s “because Apple could not make up its minds as to what they wanted to do with the device.” Specifically, it’s a half-assed product. So now what? The critic calls for an Apple TV App Store, added functionality, games, and the ability to manage your media how you please. This belief echos what Dan Frommer at Business Insider has been saying for months. Too bad Tim Cook says they aren’t getting into the TV business.

Apple Gaining OS Share, Microsoft Still Stuck On XP Because Of The Vista Debacle
Quantcast released a North America operating system report indicating that Apple’s Mac OS X is gaining traction, while Windows share is shrinking slightly. From December to January, market share for Mac OS X is up 7%. Microsoft held steady during CY4Q09 with the release of Windows 7, but started a slow decline again in January. According to the study, Apple has a 11% share, while Windows has 87%. For the year, Apple’s relative share is up 29%, while Windows share is down 4%. At 87% share and the Mac business on fire, there’s really no place to go but down for Microsoft. Additionally, it’s important to point out that Snow Leopard (launched last year) is the operating system of choice for Mac users while Windows XP (launched in 2001) continues to dominate on the Microsoft side.  Overall, this is minor additional evidence that Microsoft’s chokehold on operating systems is eroding.

I Hate The iPad Because It’s Apple’s Distribution Channel, Not Mine
John Battelle, Founder and Chairman of Federated Media Publishing, who wrote his master’s thesis on the Internet-connected tablet and its impact on the media business, hates the iPad because he sees it as another media-controlled distribution device: “it’s an old school, locked in distribution channel that doesn’t want to play by the new rules of search+social.” And Apple owns that distribution channel.  That’s good for Apple, presumably, and possibly the media folks who play ball.  But Battelle’s fear is that it will be lousy for consumers, who are now used to the unprecented freedom they have with the Internet.

Your New iPad Brought To You Courtesy Of A Child-Laborer In Taiwan
Apple audited 190 facilities in China, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the US and found 17 violations of policies, mostly related to labour laws and underage recruitment. The most alarming infractions included hiring 11 underage workers, overworking as many as 60 facilities, not providing the correct benefits to 57 facilities and paying less than minimum wages at 24 suppliers. No wonder iPhone prices keep dropping. Many of the “suppliers stated that Apple was the only company that had ever audited their facility for supplier responsibility.” That’s disheartening considering every gadget we use from cell phones to refrigerators likely comes from identical facilities. It’s a credit to Apple, though, for being the first.  It’s not clear how much remedying these problems will cost Apple.  Perhaps a small profit-margin hit.

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