Supply Chain Issues
Apple has increasingly had to deal with supply chain issues, despite Cook's reputation as an operations genius. The company experienced a shortfall in iMac production in the holiday quarter, leading Mac sales to come in sharply below estimates. There were also constraints on the iPhone 4, which surprised Apple. Cook addressed some of these issues at the recent Goldman Sachs conference, but shareholders will certainly press Apple again on this issue.
Cook noted on the earnings conference call that iMacs were down by 700,000 units year over year, but said that last year's extra week, supply constraints, and the general downturn in the PC industry hurt sales.
A recent report by
suggests that Apple has worked through some of those supply chain concerns, with Mac sales growing 31% year over year.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a recent research note that Apple is just catching up to demand. "We note that the company stated there was a 700k y/y iMac unit decline in the December quarter, which we believe was caused by supply issues around the redesigned iMacs," Munster penned, in the note.
Apple has worked diligently on improving its transparency, from releasing its supplier list, to making Cook more accessible to the media than his predecessor. Continuing to improve the supply chain is a major part of that.
Shareholders, though, are growing frustrated, as the stock price continues to decline. It's up to Cook to assuage their concerns.
Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York