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TheStreet Open House

6 Things Apple Needs to Learn From Facebook, Amazon, Google, Tesla & Disney

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For us at Economic Timing, earnings season is a time to take a step back and reassess current holdings. Such analysis doesn't look good for Apple (AAPL), which has several self-inflicted wounds. Tim Cook is beloved for his genius operational management, but he's really not making money for investors the way he could.

Apple is falling behind. It wasn't the mighty Apple that reversed the market's negative trend, it turned out to be the up-and-coming Facebook (FB). It wasn't Apple that disrupted an industry, it's looking like it was Amazon (AMZN).

Here are six very important things that Tim Cook can learn from Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and other business innovators.

1. Less is more.

This earnings report feels like a miss to Wall Street because of the way Apple breaks out earnings details by product category. It's killing Apple. But guess what? Apple handily beat earnings per share estimates at $14.50. Nevertheless, the conversation is about how Apple only sold 51 million iPhone units. Never mind that the mix of 5s and 5c iPhones was excellent. Or that the mix of iPad Airs was incredible. Nobody cares.

What if Facebook separated results between Facebook and Instagram? It would give Wall Street a chance to criticize. What if Facebook told investors that they were having a tough time keeping teenage users? What if Amazon broke down unit sales of the Kindle? It would give Wall Street a chance to criticize.

Wall Street will ignore five good variables in order to focus on the one leak. As CEO, Tim Cook can't let that happen. Apple began breaking down product sales in the iPod era because Steve Jobs wanted to boast that Apple was back on track. It was a strategy that fit the times. But the time has come for Cook to focus investor attention on the overall growth of the company. The only guys who care about the details are CPAs and analysts. Wall Street cares about the big picture.

2. Skip forward-looking guidance.

Does Facebook offer guidance? No. Why not? Because nobody knows the future. Does Google (GOOG) offer guidance? No. It's a flawed model. Get rid of it. Apple doesn't know what's going to happen at China Mobile (CHL) but they offer guidance anyway. Guidance has turned into a rally killer, so get rid of it.

3. Reduce the secrecy.

Jeff Bezos was on 60 Minutes (CBS (CBS)) showing off Amazon's future of drone deliveries. Sure it's five years out, but it gives investors reason to reward Amazon for innovation. Google has been talking about Glass years and it's still not really available to consumers. Now the company is talking about contact lenses. On Facebook's call Zuckerberg was talking about the future growth prospects of apps. These companiess are getting higher price-to-earnings multiples than Apple because of it.

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