- Apple’s Services Revenue Reaches New All-Time High of $11.5 Billion
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that consumers can press ahead with a lawsuit that accuses Apple (AAPL) of using its market dominance to artificially inflate prices at its App Store.
- Apple’s market share in the global smartphone market is shrinking.
Sticky Situation For Apple
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that consumers can press ahead with a lawsuit that accuses Apple (AAPL) of using its market dominance to artificially inflate prices at its App Store. The US Supreme Court voted 5-to-4 to allow an antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant to move forward. This decision piles on the pressure the company faces to cut the 30% commission it charges on app sales. Lawyers pressing the case plan to seek hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of overpaying consumers. Apple fell 5.8% to close at $185.72 on the stock market on that day.
When a user buys an app on Apple’s app store, Apple collects the money, keeps the 30% commission and gives the rest to the developer. Apple told the high court it passed $26.5 billion on to developers in 2017. The company is part of an app economy that will grow from $82 billion last year to $157 billion in 2022, according to App Annie projections.
In the Apple lawsuit, the company argued the case’s focus was the 30% commission. That’s something the company said is paid by the developers, not the app purchasers. The consumers said they pay for the commissions through higher app prices. But Apple contends those are the type of “pass-through” damages barred under the Supreme Court’s 1977 Illinois Brick v. Illinois ruling. The high court did not touch on the merits of the case, which contends the company has monopoly power over iPhone users because the only place they can buy those apps legally is run by the company.
Apple’s market share in the global smartphone market is shrinking, and the company’s margins are being compressed due to declining iPhone sales and increased competition. This leads me to believe that Apple will likely have to lower iPhone prices to better compete with its cheaper competitors.
In addition, the recent earnings report was not great in my view, and the company may disappoint investors in future quarters. The technical image also looks weak, and we could see another 15-20% correction from here. Between Q4’18 and Q1’19, Samsung has taken a 5% leap in the smartphone market share, while Apple declined by 7%. Huawei has since overtaken Apple in second place.
In the ongoing trade war between US and China, tariffs of 25% on $200 billion of chinese goods were made on the 13th May. The tariffs could add about $160 to the cost of a $999 Chinese-made iPhone XS. The increased cost of the american branded chinese made product could have detrimental effects on the sales of its products, with strong competition coming from Samsung and Huawei. However, one thing to note about the tariffs is, the cost of the tariffs to consumers. The new 25% tariff is levied on components, not the finished product. Apple’s AirPods and Apple Watches are spared additional tariffs. Any calculations made pertaining to the costs will not be straightforward.
Although Apple has a lot of American suppliers and spent $60 billion on American suppliers in 2018, it assembles its iPhones primarily in China. As a result, Apple uses a Chinese supply chain for all its products, from iPhones to iPads and Mac computers, hence being a primary victim of the trade war. It’s korean competitor, Samsung which has plants in Vietnam, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Korea, is far more diversified in its supply chain. To address this issue, Apple has reportedly stepped up efforts to shift production from China.
Shipments of iPhones to North America, Apple’s largest market, fell 19% to 14.6 million units in the first three months of the year. Also, Tariffs could also affect iPhone sales in China, where On Monday, China announced plans to apply 25% duties on 2,493 US products, starting on 1 June. Apple reported $51 billion in revenue in 2018 from “Greater China,” which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan. That’s Apple’s third-biggest region, after the Americas and Europe. Apple’s total revenue for 2018 was $265.6 billion. This could mean a lower revenue in the future quarters.
Everything else is thriving
Even though Apple has faced legal troubles and the potential force of the trade war, investors should not worry. Apple is doing well in services, that its service revenue has increased to $11.5 billion in the Q2 2019 financial report. That can be attributed to paid subscriptions, which nearly topped 400 million for an increase of 30 million over last quarter. The company also posted quarterly revenue of $58 billion , which is a decline of 5 percent from the year-ago quarter, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.46, down 10 percent.
International sales accounted for 61 percent of the quarter’s revenue. iPad sales were also up, fueled by the release of the fifth-gen iPad mini and the new iPad Air. Apple also sold $5.1 billion worth of Apple Watches, AirPods, and other accessories in the Q2’19, a 30 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. We should also not forget that Apple announced that they will no longer reports iPhone, iPad, and Mac unit sales numbers.