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Apple, Microsoft Need to Innovate, If They Can

He then goes on to argue a $37 price target on the stock on the basis of sub-$1,000 product becoming more common in 2013 and OS upgrades by enterprise customers because they need Microsoft Office.

Get a load of these numbers from Digitimes: Q3 2012 PC notebook shipments dropped 11.6% year-over-year and 4.5% sequentially. Apple saw shipments increase by 30% between Q2 and Q3 2012.

Right. I'll buy MSFT on hopes the PC market crash will reverse because of software Microsoft, in a bonehead move, makes available to anybody willing to pay to license it. If Microsoft had any faith in Windows 8 and the hardware that will run it, it would keep a tight lid on Office.

But it has no faith because it does not have an original way forward. It's using somebody else's existing way forward.

Though not to such a pathetic extent, that's what's happening at Apple. Tim Cook can only "refresh" existing product lines for so long.

When we get iPad Mini later this month (and, I am on record calling the Mini a good idea if we get premium pricing), we'll also get Apple's solid Retina Display slapped onto a smaller model MacBook.

This is all fine and good. Just like my 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a 13-inch model will be out of this world, luring a slightly more frugal consumer.

No worries. Unless, of course, this is all Apple has got -- building, not very creatively, on what already exists.

Because of its head start and abysmal competition, things aren't nearly as dire at Apple. However -- and, again, it's all relative -- the company needs a groundbreaking iTV or something we haven't heard about yet almost as badly as Microsoft needs Windows 8 to defy the odds and achieve success across platforms.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Rocco Pendola is a private investor with nearly 20 years experience in various forms of media, ranging from radio to print. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as dozens of online and offline publications. He uses his broad experience to help inform his coverage of the stock market, primarily in the technology, Internet and new media spaces. He has taken a long-term approach to investing, focusing on dividend-paying stocks, since he opened his first account as a teenager. Pendola, 37, is based in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife and child.
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