Is Cramer Turning Cool on Apple?
With Apple about 20% lower over 3 months, what should you do with this stock? The Mad Money host answered candidly.
If you watch Mad Money regularly, you know that Cramer has been an Apple bull for quite some time – he recommended the stock at $50.
But at $500, Cramer is - at best - cautious.
"Even as I see the stock come down to levels that are surprising on a valuation perspective, I can't see a reason to buy more," he said.
Cramer identified a handful of developments that may be a cause for concern:
- The company has missed Street estimates two quarters in a row.
- Apple's new products have been received with incrementally less enthusiasm than the products before.
- New reports suggests Apple may have cut orders for iPhone 5 parts
"The new iPhone came with a new plug," said a frustrated Cramer. "Nobody I know wanted a new plug. They have their old ones, and they loved the fact that you only need one plug for the whole Apple ecosystem. The ecosystem took a hit, and the ecosystem is part of what makes Apple so terrific and unique."
However, most concerning to Cramer is the anecdotal evidence he's uncovered that suggests Apple is losing some of its most loyal customers.
"Two things happened this weekend that have crystallized my concerns about the company, all in a 24 hour period," Cramer explained.
"First, my eldest daughter texted me to ask me if I knew anyone at Apple because she hated the new version of iTunes. I said that I didn't like it either. She then texted back that none of her friends like it either. She said it stinks."
"Then I went to the Verizon store to activate the 3g on my iPad mini and my tech guy, who knows how much I like Apple products told me that Apple's going down the wrong path - that it is charging more for a product that isn't that superior to Samsung's phone with Google software and that in many ways it is inferior."
"I was stunned," said Cramer.
"That night when I saw my daughter for dinner, I mentioned this interchange and she unleashed a barrage of anti-Apple invective, everything from how they could care less about those who owned old products to how they are so arrogant that she was finished with their products."
The research isn't scientific but it seems to confirm Cramer's suspicion that Apple has lost some customers – not just customers, people who were formerly die-hard fans.
"Wow, I said to myself," Cramer added.
To make matters all the more concerning, Cramer was immediately reminded of an exchange he had with author Walter Isaacson.
"I asked Isaacson if Apple had some sort of breakthrough product coming – such as a television product."
"He replied said that Apple might have such a product but, and he emphasized but, the company may not have the cooperation of the big cable companies, something necessary to the fundamental of the product."
"Isaacson said that Steve Jobs was able to roll the executives in the music business when he put together iTunes, but Apple won't be able to roll the cable companies because they are too powerful and aren't weakened and desperate the way the record companies were."
In other words, the so-called iTV may not be what Apple bulls are expecting.
Cramer admits the evidence is anecdotal, but it's also fairly negative.
"I love this company. And of course, things can turn around. I'm still holding some of my Apple position because Apple could still dazzle, maybe with an acquisition, maybe a new product."
"But - until then, though, it's a tough stock to own."
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