The following is an excerpt from Will Oremus | January 27, 2016 | Slate.com |
Apple reported “all-time record” earnings on Tuesday, in the words of CEO Tim Cook, who is fond of superlatives. “Our team delivered Apple’s biggest quarter ever,” he added, “thanks to the world’s most innovative products and all-time record sales of iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.”
That is all strictly true, except for the “most innovative” part, which is a matter of opinion. And it’s not an insignificant achievement, given that Apple is the world’s most valuable company and has set rather high bars for itself. It brought in some $76 billion in revenue and $18.4 billion in profits in the three-month period that ended in December. Those are very large numbers. Indeed, that quarterly profit figure is the largest ever reported by any company.
And yet Cook’s enthusiasm rang a little hollow.
After all, Apple is supposed to set “all-time records” each year. If it ever stops doing so on a consistent basis, that will imply that it has passed its peak as a money-making machine, and its loss of the “world’s most valuable” title will soon follow. Don’t get me wrong: It will not mean that Apple is dead, or dying, or doomed. It will simply mean that it is no longer following the stunningly consistent upward trajectory that has made it the most successful business of the 21st century so far.
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