The problem with being so ridiculously good at what you do is that expectations tend to keep going up beyond any viability. So it is with Apple, whose $8.8 billion earnings on $35 billion of revenue this past quarter is being treated as a disappointment.
Forget that Apple sold a record 17 million iPads (nearly twice what they moved in the same period a year ago). Ignore the 26 million iPhones sold just months before everyone knows a newer, better iPhone is coming. An increase in Mac sales? Worthless! The company didn't live up to analyst expectations, and therefore has brought shame unto its ancestors.
Look, regardless of how Apple performed compared to the numbers invented by very well-paid finance majors, these numbers are ridiculous. The economy is a question mark. The iPad numbers don't include the initial onslaught of orders following the tablet's Q1 announcement. Back to school season hasn't picked up yet. The only compelling new Apple products this past quarter were its slate of new MacBooks, and those were only available the last three weeks of the earnings period.
So, one more time: This is a quarter that any other company on the planet, tech or otherwise, has weirdly sensual dreams about and then they wake up in a cold sweat and realize they have to write down all those shitty Android tablets no one bought. Oh, and for you investor types, there's now a $2.65 dividend. Enjoy your free money!
Apple will be holding a call at 5 p.m. EST to talk about how they're going to turn all that cash into a giant flotilla and declare itself an independent island nation made of legal tender and mobile processors. We'll be listening in and will update accordingly. [Apple]