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Apple Only Loses If It Beats Itself

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I bookend this one with dueling Apple (AAPL - Get Report) video rants.

But first, a fantastic article published over the weekend at Apple Insider that should provide a pause for anybody who thinks Samsung, Google's (GOOG - Get Report) Android or anything or anybody is "beating" Apple. For instance, the Apple Insider piece strongly suggests iPad has lost very little ground in the tablet market. No surprise, but still go figure.

Pesky quantitative technicalities aside, we can straighten this whole Apple vs. Samsung or is it vs. Google thing out in just over a minute and a half.

There's not much more to say. You must qualify any discussion of market share with all of the above.

Android powers four of five mobile phones sold worldwide.

Why does this matter? And how in the world did it become the barometer of whether or not Apple is "winning" or "losing?" Unfortunately, there's a simple answer to that question because we live in such a simple society.

People, particularly the media (the financial media are the worst culprit) love dichotomy. They like to fit everything in some neat little box as to keep confusion away. It's unavoidably alluring to pit Apple vs. Samsung or Google or whomever. It's boring to just say they have different goals and comparisons, even if statistically accurate, (and, as Apple Insider details, they might not be) add very little, if anything, to a conversation we shouldn't waste our time having anyway.

And it would be even more boring for these agencies that report market share data to be completely clear and straightforward with us. If they told the real story, who would read and reprint their grunt work every quarter?

Apple never intended to make a cheap iPhone. Because the company's not after mass market share. End of story. However, the inane debate will rage on. As if it matters.

What really bewilders me, though, is that if you want to make headlines and attract eyeballs with Apple as your lead, you have more than enough ammunition.

Give Apple present-day dominance. Give it the near-term. You're only giving in to the aforementioned simplicity if you don't.

There's nothing but a brainless debate to have on the Samsung/Google vs. Apple thing. And nobody really believes Microsoft (MSFT) has half a chance at challenging Apple with any electronic device you don't need a friend or a dolly to carry from place to place.

However, if you look forward, you absolutely can and should worry.

In the article that inspired this rant, TheStreet contributor Dana Blankenhorn says:
The result is that, despite Apple's successful monetization of its iPhone and iPad, UBS has a neutral rating on the stock, even though Apple has a below-average price-to-earnings ratio of 13.2 and a $3.05-per-share dividend that now yields 2.34%.

First of all, as I mentioned Monday morning on TheStreet, enough with what Wall Street analysts say and do. I don't know of a more worthless, distrusted and constantly wrong bunch.

But I'll play anyway.

It's not Samsung's strategy that results in anything, at least as it pertains to Apple's success or failure as a company or stock. In a counter to the great John Martellaro's debut AAPL article for TheStreet, I make it crystal clear -- demystification in about one minute 30 seconds! -- that it's Apple's CEO that holds the stock back today and could hold the company back tomorrow.

Ultimately, other companies -- doesn't matter who they are -- have little do with Apple's success or failure. As I noted nearly one year ago, Apple only loses if it beats itself. That remains true today and for the foreseeable future.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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