01 November 2002

Gateway Ditches Cow, Dell Abandoning Dude ...

Who says I can't get any smiles from the PC side of the industry? Oh, and Microsoft today announced MovieFaker -- sorry, MovieMaker 2 with the added "innovation" of (gasp) Firewire support! Gee, Apple introduced that when? 1999 wasn't it? Haven't the video industry been on FW for at least that long?

Well, as you might have guessed I'm rather depressed about the wrist-slap MS got (instead of the bitch-slap they should have gotten) from the judge in their anti-trust case -- but really, what did you expect from the most corrupt administration since ... since the last one? :)

Oops, I forgot. The last administration was only interested in screwing interns. This one is interested in screwing the rest of us. Key difference there, folks.

Anyway, to cheer myself up I followed up on some reporting a fellow mac-user-and-amateur-forensic-accountant has dug up and spent some time mucking around at biz.yahoo.com looking at the financials of the two most-loathed PC competitors to Apple, Dell (booo) and Gateway (byeeee). It all started thanks to a story with a great headline: Gateway Abandons Cow on Way to Slaughterhouse. Yes, it's true ... not only must America somehow cope with the semi-retirement of Stephen "Duh" the Dell Dude, but Gateway is also seeking to actually sell some computers to people who don't consider themselves gullible idiots, and is thus smartening up their image.

"I like to call it the 'de-prairification" of the company," says the now-desperate CEO of Gateway, Ted Waitt. Well, I wish him luck, but seeing as how he's still standing in three feet of steaming bullshit, I wouldn't buy any more Gateway stock, if you smell what I'm cookin'.

Oh, and Ted -- a ponytail is just a bald man's mullet.

Dell, on the other hand, is doing a heck of a lot better than just about anyone else in the biz, including Apple (no surprise there), but apparently it's costing them a fortune to manufacture those profits. Their financials (available here) aren't really too good (apart from that market capitalisation, that is -- Wall Street loves Dell): they actually have less cash on hand than Apple! And twice the long-term debt! Sure, Dell sells more, but they don't seem to be able to make a profit on it the way Apple does. If the economy continues to head south for the next two years, Dell is going to be in very serious trouble. Of course, maybe that won't happen.

I'm no financial analyst, but it seems to me that Apple is poised to ride out even a long stretch of bad economy by innovating and possibly expanding its user base. Dell really doesn't have much of anywhere to go but down if the economy stays sour. What's Apple's secret? Here it is: they don't have to be number one to survive.

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