The business wires' new verbal tic: Apple is 'losing steam'May 14, 2013: 11:13 AM ET
First Bloomberg, now Reuters, have boiled Apple down to a two-word editorial formula.
FORTUNE -- How do you describe a company that grew like gangbusters but has entered a patch of slower growth?
Some desk editors at the business news services have hit on what they seem to think is the perfect phrase: Apple (AAPL) is "losing steam."
Last week it was Bloomberg News with this headline:
Which as we took pains to point out didn't do a particularly good job of describing either Harvard's investment strategy or the iPhone's sales growth. See: Bloomberg's lazy Apply bias.
Then, on Tuesday, Reuters weighed in with this headline:
Several problems with that one:
- What's reportedly losing steam, when you read the story, are Sharp's orders from Apple, not Apple's overall sales.
- The writer claims -- without citation -- that "analysts project annual profit growth at Apple to average less than 5 percent over the next decade, compared with an average of 60 percent over the past five years." That may come as a surprise to the analysts polled by Thomson Financial. They're anticipating Apple's profits to grow 20.88% per annum over the next five years.
- Even those growth estimates are based on the assumption that Apple has nothing new up its sleeve. No new product categories. No new disruptions.
- And nobody but Asymco's Horace Dediu seems to be paying close attention to the iTunes Store, which as he notes is growing steadily -- without losing any steam at all -- at a compound rate of nearly 30% a year. For Dediu's latest on the subject, see The allure of iTunes or tune into last Sunday's Critical Path podcast: Blessed are the apps.