The big tech news of the last few days is that Hewlett-Packard‘s 2008 earnings are better than analyst estimates — and this most recent quarter should be their strongest. It was a major bright spot from one of the world’s largest companies, showing that the current credit crisis doesn’t actually mean that the entire economy has shut down. Specifically, the tech sector might be in less trouble than everyone else.
And it made me wonder, yet again, why exactly stock analysts continue to assume that Apple can’t continue to grow and innovate in the coming years. After all, if one organization knows something about hitting the gas during a down time to get light years ahead of the competition, it is Apple. The stock chart I’ve reproduced above from Google shows the performance of AAPL since the introduction of the iPod in the depths of the post-9/11 and -Enron recession. Even with the recent precipitous drop in AAPL (it’s down almost 60 percent since January), the stock is worth about eight times what it was before the iPod (when you factor in the stock split in 2005).
The iPhone is burning up the charts. Apple has its strongest line-up of laptops in the history of the company and is gobbling up market share. The iPod touch and new nano has cemented Apple’s lead in the media player market. When people aren’t buying cars and houses, they still find time for personal entertainment — it’s a comfort when everything else is crazy. With Apple’s current technology and product pipeline, I believe that Steve has the organization poised to thrive once again. They’re going to maintain their position, continue growth, and get out ahead in creating new markets while their competitors are battening down the hatches and sticking to doing what they already know.
What Apple has to offer isn’t going away because credit is scarce. If anything, it may grow even more appealing.