Apple Could Have Bailed Out Greece

From the SMH:

Apple could have bailed Greece out twice

July 14, 2015 – 12:16PM
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A deal reached overnight will allow Greece to stay in the Eurozone.

A deal reached overnight will allow Greece to stay in the Eurozone. Photo: AP

If you needed any more proof of the size of Apple’s pudding — and the absurd brand power the tech giant wields upon millions of iFans the world over — chew on this.

At last count, Apple had $US194 billion ($A262 billion) in cash and securities.

That’s enough to cover the €86 billion ($A128 billion) Greek bailout deal struck overnight twice over — with a cool $6 billion still left over to spend on gyros and ouzo.

Record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have fuelled Apple's stock price.

Record sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have fuelled Apple’s stock price. Photo: Bloomberg

And it’s all thanks to the iPhone.

According to wealth management firm Canaccord Genuity, in the first quarter of 2015 Apple reaped a whopping 92 per cent of the total operating income of the top eight smartphone manufacturers in the world, The Wall Street Journal reports.

That’s a 65 per cent jump on the previous year, fuelled by the September 2014 release of the iPhone 6, which produced record sales.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stepped up the company's charitable efforts, but they look tiny compared to its profits.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stepped up the company’s charitable efforts, but they look tiny compared to its profits. Photo: Robert Galbraith

Apple’s biggest competitor, South Korean manufacturer Samsung, reaped 15 per cent of profits out of the top eight manufacturers.

(No, we’re not numerically challenged; Cannacord says Apple and Samsung’s combined profits exceed 100 per cent because some of the top eight makers actually lost money on smartphones, including HTC and Microsoft, which just sacked thousands of staff from its mobile division).

While we’re on the topic of charity, it’s worth noting that Apple isn’t selling more smartphones than its competitors — its just charging (arguably) extortionate prices.

Tim Cook's spare change could buy a Greek island or two.

Tim Cook’s spare change could buy a Greek island or two. Photo: NYT

In fact, it has less than 20 per cent of the global smartphone market, per unit sold.

Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi says market share is a contentious point for Apple because it’s often measured in terms of how many handsets are sold, rather than the total profit reaped.

“This piece of [Canaccord] research is exactly the way Apple likes to see its market share, rather than by units,” he says.

Apple’s iron grip on its supply chain and bulk buying power allows it to reduce the prices of components, while its cornering of the “premium” smartphone market means it can get away with charging top dollar.

Its less about ripping people off, Fadaghi says, and more about tapping into the allure of “status” — and consumers’ undying desire to pay for it.

“If you look at other luxury brands they don’t convey the message of being ripped off to their consumers,” he says.

Apple’s not all smartphones, it’s true — it sells a few MacBooks here or there — but its gargantuan share price primarily hinges on those very profitable iPhone sales, Fadaghi says.

Despite its healthy profit margins, Apple has been criticised in the past for not being more philanthropic, particularly under the leadership of late co-founder Steve Jobs.

Since Tim Cook stepped up as chief executive in 2011, however, the company has been a little more generous — a few mill here, a few mill there; including more than $US50 million for organisations promoting diversity in the technology sector, announced in March.

Cook himself is also opening up the purse strings, pledging to give his $1 billion fortune to charity.

It could buy quite a few Greek islands, but it’s not nearly enough to stop the Greek economy sinking into the Agaean.

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