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TheStreet Open House

Apple Stock to Go to $200? Vanity Fair Writer Loses Her Mind

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) has been the subject of hyper-criticism, some of it justified. But this last one, I just can't let go. I wouldn't be a good journalist if I did.

Vanity Fair contributor Bethany McLean was on CNBC discussing Apple's "demise," saying the stock could go to $200 (from $444 today). While anything is possible (she did correctly call the demise of Enron), it's more likely that $200 is in Apple's rear-view mirror, absent a stock split or a complete mismanagement by the people in charge, namely CEO Tim Cook.

Here is McLean's interview in its entirety.

First, for McLean to question the opacity of Apple's earnings power is laughable. Apple has increasingly made itself more transparent, not less. Apple now breaks down not only product revenue, but geographic sales as well.

Even if you're going to go as far as to mention Braeburn Capital, Apple's asset-management arm, as opaque, that's a weak argument. Per its 10-Q, Apple had more than $42 billion in U.S. Treasuries, over $49 billion in corporate securities and around $6 billion in money market funds and CDs. That's not exactly playing games with the company cash. In its entirety, Apple had $137.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter.

McLean describes Apple as " b asically it's a phone company with a few other businesses." McLean is correct in the sense that the iPhone does account for most of Apple's revenue. Last quarter, the iPhone accounted for 56.5% of Apple's $54.5 billion in revenue. However, to suggest it has just a few other businesses is ignoring facts. I guess the 19.5% of quarterly revenue the iPad generated doesn't mean anything. You are entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts.

Apple: A Great Company, for Now a Toxic Stock

She then notes that hedge fund managers and young kids are increasingly buying the Samsung Galaxy S III. I guess she didn't see the independent numbers from Strategy Analytics. Not one, but two, Apple iPhones beat out the Galaxy S III in the most recent quarter.

To suggest a $200 share price would mean that Apple's revenue growth -- which was 17.6% in its most recent quarter, or 27% if you take out last year's extra week -- is about to collapse. While anything is possible, I can't imagine that happening, especially with Apple's loyal legions of fans and growing customer base around the world as it enters new countries.

Yes, the Galaxy S III has made inroads in North America, with the Android operating system owning 54.3% of the market, per comScore. Again, Apple comes out on top with mobile subscribers, with 36.3% of the market versus Samsung's 21%. To suggest Apple is "holding on to women in the developed world" is bizarre.

At the end, McLean hedges, saying Apple could come out of nowhere with a new product, as it has under different management. There have been rumors that Apple is working on an iWatch, and the oft-rumored Apple television. Last I checked, Tim Cook was the CEO, not Steve Jobs. Under Cook, Apple has released some incredible products, including the iPhone 5, iPad mini and iMac, among others.

To go on television and say Apple is as likely to see $200 as $1,000 when the company has $145/per share in cash (and growing, though that's a problem for some), is a poor assessment. It's sensationalism at its worst because people's money is at stake.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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