Bloomberg butchers Samsung OLED statements to portray iPhone X as weak

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 26
Bloomberg is taking full advantage of Apple's quiet period in the week before its earnings release to issues a series of reports suggesting data points that could possibly be used to support its narrative that demand is somehow "weak" for the most profitable, attention-getting smartphone in the world--even as other vendors scramble to copy its looks and features.

iPhone X


In its latest attack on Apple's iPhone X, Bloomberg isolated selected statements from Samsung, the exclusive source of the phone's OLED display panels, and threw out facts that didn't support its narrative.

Citing mere 3 percent growth in the company's Display Panel business segment and a company earnings statement that DP profits "were affected by slow demand for flexible OLED panels," Bloomberg presented the conclusion that iPhone X sales must be "weak."

A false portrayal of Samsung's statements

Samsung didn't say that its Display Panel segment turned in weaker results due to iPhone X. What the company actually reported in its earnings statement for the March quarter was that its DP "OLED Earnings declined due to weak demand and rising competition between Rigid OLED and LTPS LCD."

It also stated that its DP segment "LCD Earnings stayed flat QoQ thanks to cost reduction efforts and product-mix improvements amid a decline in sales and ASPs caused by weak seasonality."

So rather than Bloomberg's contrived messaging portraying that Samsung's OLED profits were declining because iPhone X was tanking, the reality is that Samsung reported that its entire DP unit was hammered in profitability during the quarter due to intense competition (from other suppliers and from other, cheaper screen technologies) and from weak demand and a decline in sales in general, across both OLED and LCD panels.Samsung didn't say that its Display Panel segment turned in weaker results due to iPhone X

For its Q2 outlook, Samsung said it aimed to "Secure profitability amid weak demand by reducing costs and improving yield." It didn't say it planned to 'find alternative OLED customers beyond Apple because nobody wants an iPhone X.'

And in regard to its LCD business, the company said it would "Focus on reducing costs and improving product mix amid persisting oversupply due to competitors increasing production capacity."

There are many reasons why Samsung's DP turned in lower growth than the rest of the company. But Bloomberg's efforts to project that directly on iPhone X is just facile and lazy at best, and maliciously misleading at worst.

Bloomberg itself actually cited a second half 2018 projection by Samsung that stated: "OLED panels in the smartphone industry are expected to see a rebound in demand, especially as demand for flexible panels remains strong in the high-end segment."

That appears to directly contradict that assumption that any and all weakness in Samsung's OLED (and the Display Panel segment in general!) profitability is tied to Apple's ultra-premium, exclusive sourcing of custom, perfect OLED panels for iPhone X.


Hiding failures at Samsung to invent problems for Apple

Bloomberg noted that Samsung also supplies OLED screens for its own phones. It further portrayed the firm's 21 percent increase in phone sales during the quarter as if evidence that its screen business was only suffering due to iPhone X "weakness."

However, the March quarter was the launch quarter for Samsung's flagship Galaxy S9. Despite that launch, Samsung phone sales were only up 11 percent over the December quarter. Further, in the year-ago quarter, Samsung was still dealing with the Galaxy Note 7 crisis, so YoY growth from its catastrophic failure is hardly impressive. Samsung phone sales haven't actually grown since reaching the Galaxy 4 peak.

Also, production of new flagships would have sourced many displays in advance of the launch quarter, making the comparison between Samsung's March quarter sales of displays and finished mobiles a vast logical leap.

Bloomberg (also) neglected to point out that Samsung gave a rather dire outlook for its own phone sales: "Profitability in the mobile business is expected to decline quarter-over-quarter due to stagnant sales of flagship models amid weak demand and an increase in marketing expenses to address the situation."

Bloomberg actively repressed any mention of Samsung--the world's largest Android maker--reporting "stagnant sales" and "weak demand" of its own flagships to invent a line between iPhone X sales and Samsung's other problems occurring in its display segment.

By reporting that Samsung's DP segment was only experiencing OLED issues, and that its IM/Mobile segment was growing exceptionally--rather than just recovering from last year's massive blunder--it's clear that Bloomberg either doesn't understand much about Samsung at all, or was intentionally creating a false story just to desperately portray Apple's wildly successful iPhone X as a failure in some possible way.

The shifting goalposts of iPhone X

At its release last fall, the $1,000 starting price of iPhone X was presented as an insurmountable challenge by pundits who decided in their own minds that nobody would pay that much for a cell phone, much the same way that the original iPhone's $650 price was literally laughed at by Microsoft's Steve Ballmer.

Yet in both cases, the pundits were wrong. Apple's focus on new technologies and capabilities resulted in a shift in what people chose to pay for a phone, because neither the first iPhone nor iPhone X was really just a phone. Both are mobile computers with general purpose functionality that also replaced many users' dedicated music players, cameras and even the need for a PC.

Paying a few dollars a week to own the most advanced, easy to use mobile technology has resulted in "phone" prices going up, but has virtually erased the prices that were supporting many other businesses, from camcorders to MP3 players to PDAs to point and shoot cameras and netbooks.

Paying $1,000 for an iPhone is, therefore, a very reasonable proposition for many users, but certainly not everyone. If Apple actually expected to sell iPhone X to virtually all of its customers (the idea inherent in projections of 40 million extra units that it supposedly "cut" in the March quarter), why did it even bother to develop two, more affordable iPhone 8 models, and why did it spend so much of its iPhone event on those other models?

In reviewing iPhone X last winter, we stated that the premium new model would definitely appeal to early adopters, but that other models would likely be more attractive to users who weren't yet ready to change how they use their phone (or pay the new premium). No reasonable person should have expected iPhone X to outsell iPhone 8, even though it did during the launch quarter.

Today, Bloomberg is shoveling out daily suggestions that Apple is in a full panic because everyone on Earth isn't buying iPhone X, six months after it launched. Surely it knows that Samsung doesn't "mostly" sell Galaxy flagships, given that its overall Average Selling Price for phones is very close to $200.

The predictable cycle of iPhone sales

Additionally, despite selling incredible numbers of iPhones over the last ten years, the way that Apple introduces its products and immediately puts them on sale creates a surge of sales that always begins to fall off after demand is satisfied--much more so than other hardware makers.

This surge has been negatively presented as a problem by critics who instead focus on the drop in sales afterward. But the alternative would be for Apple to stretch sales out its launch curve and sell devices slower, exposing its offerings to more direct comparisons with competitors' subsequent products.

By surging sales during the holiday quarter, Apple monopolizes attention during the biggest buying season. Months later, Samsung and other vendors introduce new models around the beginning of the year at MWC, generally held in February. That's a stupid time to launch products because it's 4-5 months past the point where Apple has already sold buyers on its latest phone.

Yet in every March quarter, you hear braindead analysts and ignorant bloggers pointing out that some company has introduced a new phone with impressive specs, while the same time as they pretend to be concerned about Apple's falling sales. Across ten years, they still haven't figured out a very simple pattern.
propodRayz2016magman1979
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,569moderator
    Paying a few dollars a week to own the most advanced, easy to use mobile technology has resulted in "phone" prices going up, but has virtually erased the prices that were supporting many other businesses, from camcorders to MP3 players to PDAs to point and shoot cameras and netbooks.”

    And alarm clocks and calculators and GPS devices and radios and maybe even some TVs (since these pocket supercomputers support a more mobile lifestyle) and for a while watches (until they too got smart) and calendars and notebooks and pens and pencils and paper and photo albums (how far back do we want to go?) and wallets (how far forward do we want to go?), etc.   Looked at objectively, the smartphone has saved consumers untold amounts of money while also removing a large array of products from the manufacture to landfill lifecycle.  Bravo to all companies that manufacture them, but especially to Apple for defining the modern version of what we call a smart phone.   
    ericthehalfbeetmayhmlongcomwhiteRenaissance Nerdmuthuk_vanalingamStrangeDaysmagman1979LukeCagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 31
    It seems that Bloomberg has indeed crossed the rubicon from an impartial observer to a fully fledged 'Apple Hater' company. The plethora of basically anti-Apple articles in recent months leads me to believe that.
    I'd fully expect that their article lambasting Apple's next Quarter results has already been written and approved by senior management and lawyers.

    Once upon a time Bloomberg were a respected company but to me they have lost all that credibility in recent months. Has there been a major change at the top of the company in recent months?

    jbdragonmagman1979Anilu_777watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 31
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,347member
    “Paying a few dollars a week to own the most advanced, easy to use mobile technology has resulted in "phone" prices going up, but has virtually erased the prices that were supporting many other businesses, from camcorders to MP3 players to PDAs to point and shoot cameras and netbooks.”

    And alarm clocks and calculators and GPS devices and radios and maybe even some TVs (since these pocket supercomputers support a more mobile lifestyle) and for a while watches (until they too got smart) and calendars and notebooks and pens and pencils and paper and photo albums (how far back do we want to go?) and wallets (how far forward do we want to go?), etc.   Looked at objectively, the smartphone has saved consumers untold amounts of money while also removing a large array of products from the manufacture to landfill lifecycle.  Bravo to all companies that manufacture them, but especially to Apple for defining the modern version of what we call a smart phone.   
    All these changes in our culture took place before the iPhoneX came long and isn't really valid to the question of how good the iPhoneX is selling.
  • Reply 4 of 31
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,347member
    For once i would like to see DED come out with his prediction of how the iPhoneX is doing ?   How much revenue will Apple pull in this quarter?   How many phones will be sold.    What will be the ASP?   And what percentage of phones where the iPhoneX?   Will the iPhoneX be the still be the big seller?

    Same for iPads, Computers, and HomePods.

    And how will Apple do in the next year?   Will sales in Fiscal year 2019 be better or worse than 2020 when the second generation of Apple OLED phones come out.

    Its easy being a critic and attacking others in hindsight.

    I'd like to see Apple's staff make their predictions and publicly track how they do (along with all these 3rd party analysts).   Track two predictions be for Earnings release ; one made one month be fore the earnings call and one 3-5 days before the earnings call.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 31
    2old4fun2old4fun Posts: 200member
    k2kw said:
    For once i would like to see DED come out with his prediction of how the iPhoneX is doing ?   How much revenue will Apple pull in this quarter?   How many phones will be sold.    What will be the ASP?   And what percentage of phones where the iPhoneX?   Will the iPhoneX be the still be the big seller?

    Same for iPads, Computers, and HomePods.

    And how will Apple do in the next year?   Will sales in Fiscal year 2019 be better or worse than 2020 when the second generation of Apple OLED phones come out.

    Its easy being a critic and attacking others in hindsight.

    I'd like to see Apple's staff make their predictions and publicly track how they do (along with all these 3rd party analysts).   Track two predictions be for Earnings release ; one made one month be fore the earnings call and one 3-5 days before the earnings call.
    You wear your sackcloth and ashes well.
    ericthehalfbeeRayz2016tmaymwhiteStrangeDaysmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 31
    There's a delay between Samsung manufacturing a display, putting into their phone, shipping it to a retailer and an end user buying it. If their channel is already telling them that Q2 will be slow for their flagships, they'd have slowed down display manufacturing in Q1. That tells me that a lot of the slowdown in as a result of soft predicted demand for Galaxy phones, not just iPhones.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    k2kw said:
    [...] Its easy being a critic and attacking others in hindsight. [...]
    Historical perspective is not "hindsight" -- it's foresight. The criticism is in real time and not in hindsight.
    Rayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 31
    This article from Apple Insider apparently 'butchers it too, why not mention that... https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/04/26/samsung-reports-weak-demand-for-oled-displays-used-in-iphone-x
  • Reply 9 of 31
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,222member
    DED worries about Apple’s earnings release? All will be revealed next week. All this stuff is noise that we get every quarter before earnings release.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    k2kw said:
    For once i would like to see DED come out with his prediction of how the iPhoneX is doing ?   How much revenue will Apple pull in this quarter?   How many phones will be sold.    What will be the ASP?   And what percentage of phones where the iPhoneX?   Will the iPhoneX be the still be the big seller?

    Same for iPads, Computers, and HomePods.

    And how will Apple do in the next year?   Will sales in Fiscal year 2019 be better or worse than 2020 when the second generation of Apple OLED phones come out.

    Its easy being a critic and attacking others in hindsight.

    I'd like to see Apple's staff make their predictions and publicly track how they do (along with all these 3rd party analysts).   Track two predictions be for Earnings release ; one made one month be fore the earnings call and one 3-5 days before the earnings call.
    I'm not criticizing a projection because Bloomberg isn't making a projection.

    Mark Gurman is selectively picking up ideas to create bullshit logic to support a narrative that is not really supported by any facts, and contradicted by clear facts. 

    The fact my reporting this upsets you sort of reveals a lot about you.


    ericthehalfbeenunzyStrangeDaysmagman1979brisanceanomeRocwurstshark5150watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 31
    Nice article Daniel.  I find that most news articles like Bloomberg's are intentionally created to mislead the ill informed investor.
    StrangeDaysmagman1979brisancewatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 31
    FolioFolio Posts: 380member
    Statement yesterday from ATT earnings call regarding handsets augurs well for Apple: "The first quarter's traditionally our lowest free cash flow quarter, and this year's no different. Several items impacted free cash flow, including our annual employee bonus program, a larger than usual handset payment from the very strong gross ad and upright performance during the late holiday season in the fourth quarter and continuing into the first quarter."
    brisancewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 31
    FolioFolio Posts: 380member
    Unfortunately Gurman often laying down in gutter with Forbes nowadays. Perhaps short-term click economics a factor
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 31
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,181member
    Folio said:
    Unfortunately Gurman often laying down in gutter with Forbes nowadays. Perhaps short-term click economics a factor
    That’s the main reason. 

    There are more Android users than iOS users, and that’s a clickfest goldmine of folk who live just to read bad news about Apple. 

    Pity the the actual click isn’t worth that much. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 31
    Did all these idiotic analysts miss Apples guidance for this quarter? $60-62 billion. That's $7-9 billion more than last quarter and $2-4 billion more than their best ever record Q2 back when the iPhone 6 launched.

    Are they predicting a huge miss for Apple (huge as in close to $10 billion)? Has Apple ever missed guidance by even a measly $1 billion in recent memory?
    magman1979brisancewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 31
    Nice article Daniel.  I find that most news articles like Bloomberg's are intentionally created to mislead the ill informed investor.
    It's certainly possible when the CEO of Goldman Sachs testified to Congress that one of Goldman's most lucrative practices during the financial crisis was to package securities that they knew were bad and sell them to their clients saying they were good. His defense of that practice was that investors needed to be sophisticated enough to know when Goldman was lying to them...and essentially, that was accepted by Congress. Goldman Sachs was never penalized for admitting to that type of behavior. 
    magman1979brisancewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 31
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,587member
    It seems that Bloomberg has indeed crossed the rubicon from an impartial observer to a fully fledged 'Apple Hater' company. The plethora of basically anti-Apple articles in recent months leads me to believe that.
    I'd fully expect that their article lambasting Apple's next Quarter results has already been written and approved by senior management and lawyers.

    Once upon a time Bloomberg were a respected company but to me they have lost all that credibility in recent months. Has there been a major change at the top of the company in recent months?
     Bloomberg’s Apple coverage is now spearheaded by Mark Gurman, a noted Pro Troll. he’s bitter on Apple. 
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 31
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,587member

    k2kw said:
    For once i would like to see DED come out with his prediction of how the iPhoneX is doing ?   How much revenue will Apple pull in this quarter?   How many phones will be sold.    What will be the ASP?   And what percentage of phones where the iPhoneX?   Will the iPhoneX be the still be the big seller?

    Same for iPads, Computers, and HomePods.

    And how will Apple do in the next year?   Will sales in Fiscal year 2019 be better or worse than 2020 when the second generation of Apple OLED phones come out.

    Its easy being a critic and attacking others in hindsight.
    Perhaps it’s unclear to you, but many of DED’s editorials are critiques of the critics — those foolish analysts and their mutton-headed, confused, naive, and flat out wrong criticisms of Apple which are bizarrely taken at face value, especially by the pundits, haters, trolls, and MSM. DED and the Macalope both specialize in explaining why these fools are wrong. And it’s a delight to read. 

    DED is not a financial forecaster. He is not an analyst, so your request that he do so is outlandish. 
    edited April 26 magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 31
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,583member
    k2kw said:
    For once i would like to see DED come out with his prediction of how the iPhoneX is doing ?   How much revenue will Apple pull in this quarter?   How many phones will be sold.    What will be the ASP?   And what percentage of phones where the iPhoneX?   Will the iPhoneX be the still be the big seller?

    Same for iPads, Computers, and HomePods.

    And how will Apple do in the next year?   Will sales in Fiscal year 2019 be better or worse than 2020 when the second generation of Apple OLED phones come out.

    Its easy being a critic and attacking others in hindsight.

    I'd like to see Apple's staff make their predictions and publicly track how they do (along with all these 3rd party analysts).   Track two predictions be for Earnings release ; one made one month be fore the earnings call and one 3-5 days before the earnings call.
    Wow! You have almost 1,200 posts yet you are still clueless as to how Apple works! Apple ONLY provides general revenue guidance. Period. It is part of their competitive advantage and standard operating procedure.

    As to DED, his skill set is in understanding technology, competition and markets, and Apple’s related position. Not in forecasting unit volumes. With Apple, that is a fools errand, proven time and time again.
    magman1979StrangeDaysbrisancewatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 31
    LukeCageLukeCage Posts: 161member
    k2kw said:
    For once i would like to see DED come out with his prediction of how the iPhoneX is doing ?   How much revenue will Apple pull in this quarter?   How many phones will be sold.    What will be the ASP?   And what percentage of phones where the iPhoneX?   Will the iPhoneX be the still be the big seller?

    Same for iPads, Computers, and HomePods.

    And how will Apple do in the next year?   Will sales in Fiscal year 2019 be better or worse than 2020 when the second generation of Apple OLED phones come out.

    Its easy being a critic and attacking others in hindsight.

    I'd like to see Apple's staff make their predictions and publicly track how they do (along with all these 3rd party analysts).   Track two predictions be for Earnings release ; one made one month be fore the earnings call and one 3-5 days before the earnings call.

    If DED knew all of this info then he would be very misguided for giving this information for free. This type of information would warrant big bucks, forecasting into to future years or even months out is very complicated process.
    watto_cobra
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