Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Video: Grading the Apple analysts on a scale of A to F

February 6, 2012: 10:59 AM ET

Two ways of seeing how well (or badly) the pros and amateurs predict Apple's earnings

Green = Amateurs, Yellow = Pros Source: Dediu, PED

We've been trying for several years to find the best way to show how much better the so-called amateur analysts (some of whom have since gone pro) are at estimating Apple's (AAPL) quarterly revenue and earnings than the Wall Street professionals who do it for the big banks and brokerage firms.

Now Asymco's Horace Dediu, who is a master at these things, has come up with an elegant solution. Using the data we've been collecting since 2008 for our quarterly Earnings Smackdowns (see here for the most recent), he's assigned grades to each analyst, where 0% error gets an A and 33% gets an F).

The image above, with pros in yellow and amateurs in green, is a static representation of the results. The YouTube video below shows the same data in motion.

Both versions make it clear that Q4 2011, the only quarter in which the pros beat the amateurs, was the exception that proved the rule.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for

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