Psst! hey buddy I have a hot stock pick for yea… Warning: All of my investing advice should be consumed with a grain of salt. In the spirit of full disclosure; I discovered just how bad a day trader I am during the last tech bubble of 2000! But, seeing we are now peaking in the Bubble 2.0 era, it seams an appropriate time for me to dust off my stock prognostication skills and post about two of the most influential tech issues out there.
Apple and Google – In a Class of their own
Some tech companies are all about the hype, while others actually deliver on the goods, but rarely do you find established players that are both profitable while simultaneously maintaining that meteoric level of excitement present in a pre-IPO startup; and then there’s Google and Apple. Titans of tech both command legions of devoted customers, soaring share prices and massive media attention. But is their stock worth it today? Is there still room for growth?
Fundamentals Don’t Matter
While many business analysts and fund managers are quick to cite trends and backup their stock ratings with statistics like earnings per share, Cash reserves, or the state of a company’s management team, in the case of both Apple and Google these hard facts don’t seam to matter.
The usual barometers for company health and stock value can not measure these firms. While some might argue this is just a symptom of the new tech bubble, Apple and Google are so compelling, their momentum is virtually unstoppable. Let’s look a little deeper at each company and try to uncover why this is.
Google – It’s about the Ads stupid!
The key thing to understand about Google is that they’re an advertisement firm. Nope, not a search engine or social network or widget provider or even soon to be a mobile phone OS, Google is the new ad medium of our time – and it’s only going to grow.
Google Ad sense is already the most profitable aspect of the company, and while search made them famous, ads are paying the bills. Look for this to continue especially as Google branches into new ventures and platforms like the Open Social and Gphone OS spec. With a billion plus potential people to target – and I do mean target – the sky, and share price, are the limit.
Potential pitfalls do exist though. Foreign government’s demands to block access or hand over results as a provision of doing business in their country (think China) have created industry watcher and human rights concerns, even some loyal fan base outrage. Privacy, however, is an even greater source of discord. As users freely disclose marketing and demographic data that Google and its partners are using to targeting products and services at users with precision accuracy, privacy advocates warn that too much personal information is being amassed.
While these concerns are only likely to grow given Google’s pervasive plans, end-users simply enjoy Google’s offerings too much to give them up. Combine end users insatiable appetite for convenience with the virtual ubiquity of Google’s services – and therefore ad placement opportunities – and you have a formula for continued success. Looks like the stock is still a bargain at $1000 per share!
Apple Uber Allies
If there is one lesson that can be learned from both the Jonestown massacre and Apple’s stock performance as of late; the cult of personality is alive and well. Now I’m not saying that Steve Jobs is a charismatic, magnetic, tyrannical cult leader… then again, let me get back to you on that. Regardless of whether you want to attribute Apple’s success to its vivacious leader, there’s no question that Job’s return to Apple has ushered in a new era of profitability and market share expansion.
Apple is unquestionably the most over hyped and over covered tech company out there. Despite all the ink that has been spilled chronicling Apple’s greatness and the zealous fan base, even this non-Apple user has to admit; Apple is really firing on all cylinders and its stock is only going to climb. This growth is going to be driven by continued dominance of the iPod/iTunes ecosystem, strong computer sales (as Microsoft Vista falters), and the long term impact of Apple’s entry into the wireless space, ala the iPhone.
So when analyzing Apple the bottom line is: despite the excessive hype surrounding their products, software and dynamic CEO, Apple is still an issue to buy and hold.
Mobiles are the Future
Both Google and Apple are focused on the future, and the future is phones. Apple has already made a tidy chunk of change this year with the iPhone, and relatively speaking this is just the tip of the iceberg. While Google’s Android platform will not be ramping up till mid 2008, the search and ad giant is not about to surrender the mobile market to Apple, Microsoft or Palm.
Not only do mobiles represent new revenue streams for Apple and Google, but they usher in the next battlefield for consumer minds and pocketbooks. The companies that dominate the coming generation of highly integrated mobile voice/messaging/computing devices will undoubtedly see dramatic profits and stock appreciation. Google and Apple both know this and have set in motion strategies to capture this market, this anticipated growth and Apple/Google’s positioning for it is one of the most compelling reasons to own both companies.
Forget the Hype, Buy Apple and Google
It’s hard to find two companies that have greater visibility that Google and Apple. They are part of our daily lives, covered exhaustively and considered over valued by many. Despite what the detractors have to say, these issues are must haves for any tech portfolio. Heck the only thing that would make them more attractive is a merger. What would we call them? iGoopple?