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A tale of two companies….

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times….” –Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

First, I saw this CNN Money article about Microsoft sales sinking another 17% after revenue slips for a second consecutive quarter and as profit dips 29%.

Then I saw this CNET article today about Microsoft seeing business “tough” all of the remainder of 2009.

THEN, I saw THIS article that in June, according to the NPD Group, 91% of all computers sold at retail for more than $1000 were Macs! This was a slight increase from the 88% in May! Although the NPD numbers do not include the specialty gaming PCs that gamers customize and buy online, and which can easily top $1000, NPD analyst Stephen Baker points out that 2/3 of ALL computers are sold at retail.

And of course, I was already aware of this Q3 report, in which Apple reported the “Best Non-Holiday Quarter Revenue and Earnings in Apple History.” The company posted revenues of $8.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.23 billion, or $1.35 per diluted share. All of these figures were up from the year-ago quarter as was gross margin (36.3% up from 34.8%).

So what’s going on? Has the world become smarter? :-)


I am going to let all of you readers draw your own conclusions, but please make sure that the conclusions are based on data, rather than mere opinions (I certainly had to listen to enough opinion unsupported by data when I worked in high tech.) Data seldom speak for themselves, but I do not want to put a spin on these numbers.

My personal belief is that we are seeing individual consumers leading businesses again. When consumers have to spend their own hard-earned money in this global recession, they seem to be, frankly, smarter than companies are when making purchasing decisions. Many of the purchases that are reflected in the above statistics were made by younger people who “teethed” on computers. Most of the younger people with whom I have worked have been pretty smart! (With a few VERY NOTABLE exceptions…. :-) )

A little more than a year ago, I detailed my thought processes in making the purchase decisions for a MacBook Pro, an AirPort Express, and an upgrade to the CS3 level of Photoshop. My belief is that VALUE-conscious customers are making these same decisions with the best information that they have available to themselves, and that the statistics and forecasts reflect these customer decisions.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide! If you don’t see what you want or would like to receive an email when new photos are up on the site, send us an email at

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