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To: Trader J who wrote (124941)2/3/2012 6:20:51 PM
From: Edward Boghosian
   of 168683
 
Trader J:

Your point is well taken. Shorting Apple or Google or ISRG is a very tricky deal because when they fall they can very quickly bounce back and leave one in the dust. Look at ISRG over the last few days. It isn't whiplash that I'll get but a broken neck.

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To: Doren who wrote (123687)2/3/2012 6:24:17 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
5 Recommendations   of 168683
 
Wall Street analysts struggle to predict Apple

By Poornima Gupta and Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO
Fri Feb 3, 2012 5:51pm EST

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - By day, Robert Leitao manages a Catholic church in Southern California. By night, he indulges his other passion: predicting Apple Inc's ( AAPL.O) results.

Leitao is part of a cadre of amateur forecasters, bloggers and hobbyists who sift through reams of data every quarter to guess at Apple's quarterly results - often putting professional analysts to shame by coming up with more accurate predictions.

Co-founder of the Apple Independent Analysts Group, Leitao is ranked seventh for the December quarter out of 50 analysts who cover Apple by Fortune magazine, which found that his estimates turned out to be much closer to the results than those from prestigious banks such as Goldman Sachs ( GS.N) and Morgan Stanley ( MS.N).

While Wall Street analysts' forecasts for Apple's revenue and
earnings per share were off by an average of 21 percent in the latest quarter, amateur analysts missed by just 10 percent, according to the Fortune data.

This raises questions about how good Wall Street is at forecasting Apple, the largest U.S. company by market value, famous for trouncing market forecasts quarter after quarter.

Leitao does not believe he and the more than 100 members of the Apple Independent Analysts Group - which he started as a hobby - are smarter than their professional peers. He suspects Wall Street is more inclined to play it safe.

It does not help that Apple itself tends to lowball its guidance. "In their work, there is a greater risk in coming out with aggressive estimates that are too high," Leitao said of analysts at top-tier brokerage firms.

In the last couple of years, Apple's earnings have exceeded Wall Street expectations tracked by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S by at least 13 percent, and often a lot more. The exception was the September quarter of 2011, when they fell short.

Technology analysts say Apple is particularly tough to predict because of its secretive nature, and because it has a hand in everything from hardware (iPhones, iPads, Macs and iPods) to digital distribution (iTunes and its emerging iCloud remote storage service).

They also point to a lack of historical data on the tablet market, and Apple's fast expansion into more than 100 countries as challenges. Yet another blind spot is sales from Apple's own retail stores and apple.com - data that only the company has.

"If you're talking about Apple where you're trying to model Macs and phones and new markets like tablets, that's obviously more challenging than making assumptions around Intel where you're only modeling PCs," said JMP analyst Alex Gauna.

WALL OF SILENCE

Analysts refine their financial models by studying Asian companies that supply components to Apple, surveying retail executives, and extrapolating from sales of previous generations of iPhones and iPads.

Their counterparts covering Intel Corp ( INTC.O) and other big tech companies regularly visit PC manufacturers in Asia to take the industry's temperature. But attempts to talk to Apple's more than 100 suppliers, including Foxconn or Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd ( 2317.TW), often run into a wall of silence.

Beyond normal U.S. Regulation Fair Disclosure rules governing the disclosure of material information, companies working for Apple are required to sign strict confidentiality agreements and risk losing Apple's business if they break them.

That rigor stems from the era of Steve Jobs, who kept an iron grip on his team and refused to release products until they were perfected for prime-time - a discipline that endures past his death last October.

"They have built reg-FD discipline into their channel beyond anything I have ever seen before," Gauna said. "If you don't happen to have a cousin who works on the assembly line at Foxconn, then everybody has an equal playing field."

Looking for an edge, analysts resort to visiting Apple stores on important product-launch dates to count heads and conduct surveys. But they acknowledge the data is not enough to draw firm conclusions.

"You try to build a mosaic," said Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. "That's the best you can do."

Another problem is the growing impact from Apple's new product launches, which can skew sales as consumers hold off on purchasing older products in anticipation of newer models. That happened in the September quarter, when Apple's results missed for the first time in four years due to slower-than-expected smartphone sales ahead of the iPhone 4S launch.

The company then saw a huge spurt in iPhone sales in the December quarter.

Apple has historically been very conservative in giving guidance, usually handing out estimates far below Street projections. In 2011, Apple underestimated its own revenue by an average of 16 percent each quarter.

"The company wants to keep expectations low and outperform as the quarter goes out," said Brian Marshall, analyst with ISI Group.

There are signs of change, however. In the past two quarters, Chief Executive Tim Cook actually forecast revenue and earnings per share at or above Wall Street estimates. Analysts hope this heralds a more predictable era under Cook.

"They're becoming a little more transparent. It'll make it easier for people to understand the story," said Sterne Agee's Wu. "But to be frank, the element of surprise, it's part of their mystique."

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta and Noel Randewich in San Francisco and Edwin Chan in Los Angeles, editing by Matthew Lewis)

reuters.com 

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From: jeftuxedo2/3/2012 6:36:59 PM
   of 168683
 
Beware of the latest OSX Security Update, it breaks Rosetta support on older programs.

macnn.com 

Believe me, it is real. It has affected my version of Word, Quicken and Photoshop CS2 and I don't know what else. DO NOT install this update if you rely on Rosetta to run older programs.

Not good, Apple!:(

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To: jeftuxedo who wrote (124959)2/3/2012 6:45:38 PM
From: Cogito
   of 168683
 
Sorry you're having trouble.

Have you tried reinstalling Rosetta and repairing permissions? I read that was helping some people.

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To: Cogito who wrote (124960)2/3/2012 6:53:08 PM
From: jeftuxedo
   of 168683
 
Allen,

I repaired permissions, ran Disk Warrior and TechTool. Didn't fix it.

I haven't reinstalled Rosetta. How is that done, as a custom installation from the OSX program disk?

I just thought the easiest way to handle it would be to go back in Time Machine about three days or so before I did the update and restore it to that.

Apple messed up on this one. I am rarely pissed at them, but I must say that I am feeling pretty rancorous at the moment.

Jef

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To: jeftuxedo who wrote (124961)2/3/2012 7:05:57 PM
From: Cogito
   of 168683
 
You can reinstall Rosetta from the OS X CD. I can't recall the exact steps, but it's quite simple.

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To: Cogito who wrote (124962)2/3/2012 8:25:04 PM
From: jeftuxedo
3 Recommendations   of 168683
 
Apple announces fix for the Rosetta problem caused by the OSX Security Update:

macnn.com 

Quick work by Apple to solve this snafu. Now, I am not quite so agitate and will wait for the fix to appear on Software Update within about 24 hours.

Whew.

The update, v.1.1 is on the "Software Update" accessed from the Apple Menu of your computer. I just installed it and tested it on Quicken 2007 which wouldn't print before. It works fine now. I also tested my older version of Word 2004 and you are able to "save" and "print" which it wouldn't do on the problem update. I assume that other things are fixed now as well since the "unbroke" the Rosetta issue. Good news.


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From: iggyl2/3/2012 9:04:45 PM
   of 168683
 
Labor Activist: Apple Best at Auditing Factories, Still Not Doing Enough
February 3rd, 2012 by Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director



Labor Activist Li Qiang wants you to know that the iPhone 4 in his pocket is not an endorsement of Apple’s policies, just an acknowledgement that the company is doing a better job of monitoring factory conditions than its peers. The founder of leading advocacy group China Labor Watch (CLW) told us that, though the Cupertino company does more-thorough inspections than competitors, it is responsible for poor working conditions at its suppliers’ factories and needs to invest some of its record-breaking profits in improving them.

“Although I know that the iPhone 4 is made at sweat shop factories in China, I still think that this is the only choice, because Apple is actually one of the best. Actually before I made a decision, I compared Apple with other cell phone companies, such as Nokia,” he said through a translator. “And the conditions in those factories are worse than the ones of Apple.”

Li explained that Apple is one of the few OEMs that discloses its factory audit reports to the public and he lauded the company’s honesty in disclosing serious vendor violations like child labor or safety violations to the public. Indeed, a quick read of Apple’s 2012 Supplier Responsibility Report reveals such potentially embarrassing facts as:

Involuntary Labor: Apple discovered 17 facilities that required their workers to pay excessive recruitment fees, effectively forcing them to work off these debts as indentured servants. The company says it terminated business with one repeat offender and required the rest to reimburse workers for any fees that exceeded Apple’s limits, a total of $3.3 million.
Underage Labor: Auditors discovered 19 cases of underage workers at five facilities in 2011, though 13 of those were workers who had either left or aged since their hires. Apple says it required its suppliers to “support the young workers’ return to school.”
Lack of Protective Gear: The company found 58 facilities where workers either lacked the proper protective gear, weren’t using the gear, or didn’t know how to use the gear. Apple says it required the facilities to educate the workers and supervisors about the importance of protective gear.
Poor Emergency Preparedness: 99 facilities were in some form of non-compliance with fire prevention standards.
Too Many Hours: 93 facilities had more than 50-percent of their workers exceeding the 60-hour weekly limit on work time. Apple hired a consultant to help suppliers manage their workers’ time better.
Explosions: This wasn’t much of a disclosure, since explosions at two Apple plants were public knowledge before the report, but the company said it has changed its rules about working with toxic dust, the source of the fires.
By comparison, HP’s detailed audit-findings page, which does not yet include information from 2011, only shows a vague percentage of worldwide suppliers who were in conformance with standards categories like “child labor avoidance” and “freely chosen employment,” without providing specific numbers of violations and remedies taken. Dell provides a list of its top suppliers and lists the labor standards it follows, including international conventions like the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC), but doesn’t show a list of specific violations it has uncovered.

Ironcially, Apple appears to be less concerned about factory conditions than its competitors, because of the company’s unwillingness to talk with advocacy groups like China Labor Watch and Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior. Li said Dell and HP responded to his group’s reports about working conditions in their factories, but Apple ignored them. SACOM’s Debby Chan told us she had had helpful conversations with both Dell and HP, but Apple had refused to meet with her.

“Dell and Hewlett Packard are not doing as good as Apple is doing right now,” Li Said. “But when we talk about publicity and public relations, it’s another story.”

Auditing Doesn’t Always Reveal the Truth
Though most large hardware makers conduct thousands of supplier audits a year, those audits may not be enough to uncover the truth and correct problems. Li explained that bribery of auditors is common at Chinese factories, because it’s less expensive to make a pay-off than to fix an unsafe condition. He said his company has uncovered at least nine cases of bribery at Intertek, a leading auditing firm and is currently involved in a lawsuit against the company for allegedly publishing the name of a confidential informant who had witnessed incidents of corruption.

Even when inspectors act in good faith, a simple visit may not be enough to uncover abuses, because supervisors prepare just for the audits. In a very detailed report based on worker interviews and undercover work, China Labor Watch details conditions at 11 factories that make products for a number of suppliers including Dell, HP, Lenovo, Philips, Apple, and others. In the section on Hongkair Electronic Technology, a supplier that makes components for ASUS, Apple, HP, IBM, China Labor Watch writes:

The factory often has different customer representatives come visit them to do an inspection of factory facilities. At the time of inspection, the factory will demand workers wear the appropriate safety protection equipment, will turn on all the factory lights, and will make an effort to clean up the factory grounds.

Apple states on its website that it has begun working with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and will allow the association’s inspectors into its factories and allow them to post the results of these audits to the FLA website. “This represents a level of transparency and independent oversight that is unmatched in our industry,” Apple says.

Li said he’s unimpressed with Apple’s partnership with the FLA, because Intertek conducts some of their inspections. However, Li feels that Apple’s own inspections are probably fairly accurate because of all the embarrassing abuses they’ve detailed.

Employee Hotlines a Solution
If audits don’t always uncover the truth, there’s another way to find out what’s going on at the factories: Just ask the workers. Li said a number of advocacy groups are currently testing hotline programs in cooperation with major OEMs. Workers can call these numbers and report abuses, which then get sent straight to the companies involved.

Li would not disclose the names of any companies involved in these pilot programs, because they have asked for confidentiality right now. However, he said that companies need to involve all the facilities that make their products, not just a few.

“For example if the company has 100 supplier factories in China, maybe they just wanted to involve like 20 or even less of them to participate in the hotline program,” he said. “They have to consider in the cost of the whole program that as soon as they find out about problems they have to remedy them, which is money-consuming as well.”

Foxconn One of the Best
According to employees interviewed by China Labor Watch, the conditions at many suppliers’ factories are far worse than those found at Foxconn, a company that has become infamous because of a series of high-profile incidents such as employee suicides and a fatal explosion. However, according to the China Labor Watch report “Tragedies of Globalization: The Truth Behind Electronics Sweatshops,” workers at the two Foxconn plants they investigated received health and safety training, along with all necessary gear, before starting work. Machines at the plants are reportedly maintained and checked for safety every day. According to the report, Foxconn workers even have a trade union with a workers’ care center hotline for reporting problems.


All of this is not to say Foxconn, which manufactures products for Apple, HP, Dell, and many other OEMs, is a pleasant place to work. As with other plants, the managers are reportedly verbally abusive, the work is grueling, and one of the Foxconn factories apparently required a lot of overtime with few breaks. However, workers at the Longhua Foxconn plant received better wages and benefits than those at any of the 10 factories China Labor Watch investigated.

“Foxconn is not good,” Li told the New York Times. ”But if we compare all industries, electronics, textile, toys, Foxconn is one of the best.”

Meanwhile, at other factories China Labor Watch investigated, workers and undercover agents reported serious health and safety problems, along with even more exploitative wages and poor working conditions. For example, at Catcher Technology, a company that makes notebooks and phones for Acer, Apple, ASUS, Dell, IBM, Motorola, Nokia and Sony, workers are allegedly given no safety training and are then forced to inhale noxious and potentially toxic fumes.
Labor Watch writes:

If a worker has an accident, it is their own problem. There is no systematized health and safety education training . . . Workers wear masks during working hours, although the masks do not serve much of a purpose. Workers report that especially the grinding of the cell phone case creates very fine powder which is extremely easy to inhale into the nose and lungs.

At Compal Electronics, a huge supplier that manufactures notebooks for Dell, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba, workers reported that the company does not provide face masks or ear plugs, despite loud noises. Apparently, there was not even a first-aid kit available. “In the event of an injury,” Labor Watch writes, “the workshop manager will give the injured worker some cotton to cover up their injury.”

Apple, Suppliers, Authorities: Who’s to Blame?
Reading about the abusive managers, poor safety conditions, filthy living accommodations, long hours, and low wages, it’s tempting to blame the suppliers who run the factories or government authorities who are charged with enforcing China’s 2008 Labor Law. According to Li, China’s Bureau of Labor is limited in its abilities by local governments that receive tax revenue from the factories, but don’t have to provide benefits to what they classify migrant workers. The suppliers, he says, are also limited, because of price and production pressures from Apple and the other OEMs.

“If Apple still lowers their prices and doesn’t give enough profits to the factories, then the factories don’t have money to improve the labor conditions,” he said. “So it’s always the problem of Apple and not the problem of factories. We can see that Apple is trying to put all the responsibility on the factories by releasing the supplier factory list and trying to put the factories into the focus of the immediate public, but we think that Apple should do more to make a positive change in the whole system.”

Though he believes that Apple has done a better job of inspecting its factories than others, Li maintains that the public is right to put more pressure on Tim Cook’s company than its competitors who have the same problems. Because Apple makes the most profit, he reasons, it also bears the most responsibility for fixing a broken system. He maintains that it wouldn’t take more than 2-percent of Apple’s profits to dramatically improve workers’ lives in China while companies such as Dell and HP would have to spend more.

“Although we think Apple is among the best in terms of auditing, we still think that Apple can do more because it is the most profitable company in the world,” he said. “As soon as Apple is willing to give a small percentage of its profits, the workers can benefit a lot. But Apple is not willing to do that".

blog.laptopmag.com 

Bottom line, Apple needs to improve their effort but no where near as much as other OEMs, apparently even shining stars Nokia and H-P. Compared to them it seems Apple is a shining star?

... and not surprising Sewage Tank turds are again proven to be FOS

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To: iggyl who wrote (124964)2/3/2012 9:14:24 PM
From: Kurthend
   of 168683
 
You ought to post that on the Apple Tankwatch thread.

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To: Kurthend who wrote (124965)2/3/2012 9:21:45 PM
From: rnsmth
7 Recommendations   of 168683
 
I disagree.

I think we should starve Tankwatch by not posting there. It will soon go the way of Sly's Android thread when fools only talk among themselves.

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