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Apple’s results might be great, but coverage of Apple results is disappointing

There isn't much doubt in my mind that Apple's had a great quarter. But what I'm deeply disappointed by is the coverage we've got from the media about it.

Take, for example, the summary that GigaOm provides. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – that I couldn't have got from simply listening to the conference call and writing down the facts myself. There's no contextualising, there's no questioning, there's no comment from people who they, as reporters, have access to and that I don't.

There is, in fact, no added value at all. I might as well read the press release. In fact, as the press release contains a pretty decent decription of how GAAP works, I'd actually be better-off reading the press release.

Now I'm not singling GigaOm out here, because almost no one has actually done this news as a proper news story. The only person I've seen who's actually added any value to the story is Joe Wilcox, who did more actual journalism in a single Twitter than anyone else has done in all their stories. Joe simply pointed out the fact that when Jobs compared BlackBerry sales with iPhone he wasn't comparing the same periods – which means that you can't claim that Apple is outselling RIM with real authority.

Joe was also the only person I've seen who pointed out that Apple's reporting of non-GAAP earnings isn't a great way to measure if you're trying to compare its performance with its rivals. As Joe puts it, "I've covered Microsoft for a decade, and I've never seen this kind of
accounting before. Microsoft has huge amounts of deferred revenue
because of annuity licensing contracts. Deferred, or unearned, revenue
is just that."

Tech writing deserves better than it's currently getting from the blogs and writers who have come into the game in the last few years. It's time for a few of the leaders to step up and raise their game. Otherwise, I suspect that quite a few of the "blogging networks" won't survive the next couple of years.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • zato

    And what value do you add other than your usual attempts to discredit Apple and $hit on the results.
    “Deferred, or unearned, revenue is just that” Apple now gets paid in full instead of [COST] + a monthly cut of the phone bill.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk ianbetteridge

    First, for those iPhone 3Gs, Apple no longer gets a cut of the monthly bill. That's nothing to do with its deferal of income, which is an accounting issue.

    Secondly, the point is that no one else reports like this *and if they did* you'd have a very different competitive landscape. Microsoft, for one, would look like it was getting a lot more revenue.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk ianbetteridge

    By the way, Zato, it's OK to say “shit” here.