Techmeme

What does all this 'bubble' talk have to do with Apple?

April 30, 2012: 7:40 AM ET

Something may burst, but it's not the company that's making money hand over fist

Photo: designbeep.com

FORTUNE -- It's symptomatic of the delusion that characterizes much of the thinking in Silicon Valley these days that someone could read Chris Dixon's nuanced "Is it a tech bubble?" post that was Techmeme's lead story Monday and turn it into an "Apple is about to burst" screed.

"You can't trust those P/E and other calculations when companies like Apple amassed their incredible valuations and profit margins only over a couple years," wrote a video-blogger nicknamed Charbox in one of the most recent comments. "Those companies can collapse again just as fast."

I can practically hear Brian S Hall screaming all the way from Madison, Wisc.

Hall, who writes a blog called The Smartphone Wars that is followed by a lot of tech journalists, has been harping for months on the vast disparity between the recent wave of money-losing social networking start-ups (Wikipedia on Sunday listed 204 of them) and Apple (AAPL), which became the world's most valuable public company by -- wait for it -- generating huge profits quarter after quarter.

"The insiders are funding companies whose explicit purpose is to be acquired," Hall wrote on Sunday, "Not to build a business. Not to generate revenue. Rather, to expose a potential weakness in a company that has money and do everything they can to talk up that weakness so their little app, business model or service gets bought up. With a lofty valuation."

Hall doesn't have to mention the most glaring example -- the $1 billion Facebook is said to be spending to acquire Instagram. Everybody in the business knows what he's talking about.

But he goes one, unpopular step further. He argues that the venture capital-funded blogs that cover these start-ups -- and get them space on news aggregators like Techmeme -- are part of a corrupt conspiracy:

"The *entire* reason for rich, 1% insiders in Silicon Valley to continuously pour money into select blogs, which have no hope of ever providing a semi-decent return on the investment, is so the blogs, acting as PR, can talk up the latest and greatest app or business or the hippest, sharpest line-up of investors behind Insanely Great New Product X."

Hall, needless to say, is not one of the bloggers getting funded by Silicon Valley venture capital. Which may be why it makes him crazy to hear his (and others') warnings of a growing tech bubble turned on the one company in the valley that's generating enormous profits: Apple.

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