Reading through the tech press today you might be tempted to believe that it’s all doom and gloom with Apple’s financials. For those who might still be unaware, Apple shared their fourth quarter financial results on Thursday. And, despite making a cool $8.2 billion in profit in the last quarter - yes, quarter - this was still disappointing for some Wall Street analysts. The doom quickly spread to most tech journalists who were soon caught up sharing the ‘disappointment’ in a bid to grab as many page views for their poor reporting as possible.
It was so disappointing in fact that most of the above said journalists barely made mention of the fact that Amazon also announced their quarterly results. You’d assume that, since they hardly got a mention at all, there was nothing much to write home about. And yet there was.
For the first time since 2003, Amazon made a heavy loss of over $274 million. And it strikes me that this is pretty significant. Way more so than Apple’s non-news.
There’s no doubt that Amazon taking such a diametrically opposed approach to Apple’s makes things interesting in the tech industry. Selling Kindle’s and Kindle Fire’s at cost - or even a loss - is great for consumers wanting easy, cheap access to the ebook and tablet markets. It’s a fabulous contrast to Apple’s high-margins approach with its whole product line. But is it sustainable?
How many hits like this last quarter can Amazon afford to take before its entire strategy should start to be questioned? It’s all very well to run a business without making a profit and simply breaking even, but you can’t run a successful business making losses.
I’m not suggesting Amazon is suddenly in danger of collapsing or anything at this point, but you’d of thought that such a big media company making a hefty loss would have the tech media delving into this story like nobody’s business. It’s a big story. And it’s highly relevant. But instead we have excessive, tedious, and context-free, reporting of Apple financials by journalists and media companies desperate for hits to keep their advertisers happy.
Am I foolish to hope for something better?