Missing In Action: One RDF (10/19/00)

Oh, my my my... So we fired up our QuickTime Players and tuned into yesterday's live earnings report hoping for some good news, but that hope quickly self-destructed about thirty seconds into the proceedings when Nancy Paxton, Apple's Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Finance, introduced money dude Fred Anderson-- and Uncle Steve himself. Wuh-oh. Since when does Steve sit in on the earnings call? Obviously Apple was hoping to soften a nasty blow with the liberal application of Reality Distortion Field energy.

Indeed, the news was generally not the kind that makes people dance naked in the sunshine. While Apple posted a $170 million profit for the quarter, $62 million of that was from the sale of ARM stock, leaving a "mere" $108 million from recurring factors. That apparently comes out to thirty cents per share-- a penny less than the analysts' revised consensus. That's right; for the first time in years, Apple finished up its quarter below Wall Street's expectations, and thus the Street-beating streak has finally wound to a close. Worse yet, Fred essentially announced that the next quarter will also suck (though it'll still be profitable), and that things won't get back up to steam until 2001.

Now here's the really scary part. Did anyone else notice that Steve sounded, well, a little wooden as he tried to spin the bad news? Listen to the streaming-on-demand rebroadcast; the man is clearly reading from a script. He clears his throat, stumbles over words, and maintains the rhythm and pace of a fourth-grader reading out loud in front of the class. If we had started listening in the middle of his spiel, we wouldn't have guessed it was Steve at all; his usual dynamic range is gone, and there's no RDF in sight. Consequently, AAPL dipped as low as $16 in after-hours trading, and it's currently fighting at $18.50.

This is a dire situation indeed; Dr. Evil has clearly stolen Steve's mojo! We just hope he manages to get it back before the next Stevenote-- or the next earnings statement. In the meantime, Apple plans to fall back on other, less hypnotic methods to overcome the factors which contributed to the current financial "disappointment"... and as further proof that Steve just isn't himself right now, Fearless Leader himself was playing unusually fast and loose with the forward-looking info about Apple's product lines. Perhaps he's been replaced with a poorly-done android?

SceneLink (2622)
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The above scene was taken from the 10/19/00 episode:

October 19, 2000: Someone cue the violins-- for the first time in years, Apple fails to beat Wall Street's expectations and a strangely wooden Steve Jobs struggles to prevent further stock price carnage. Meanwhile, the rumor-hating Uncle Steve finds himself compelled to drop a few hints about his company's upcoming product lines, and so far the numbers on Mac OS X's beta period look "very, very good"...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2623: The Great Q4 Lip-Loosener (10/19/00)   So during the earnings call, the RDF-bereft Steve Jobs was forced to fall back on hints of future insanely-great Apple products in hopes of preventing further Wall Street carnage. Can you imagine how tough that must have been for him?...

  • 2624: Making Numbers Dance (10/19/00)   One nifty little bonus during the Steve 'n' Fred Financial Variety Hour yesterday was the unveiling of some interesting facts pertaining to everyone's favorite candy-coated but as-yet-unfinished operating system, the Mac OS X public beta...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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