Cook's Honeymoon Over at Apple

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The reaction to Apple's (AAPL) earnings doesn't prove that society stinks or that the tech market is about to crash. 

It proves that Tim Cook's honeymoon as Apple CEO is over.

In the almost two-and-a-half years since taking over from the late Steve Jobs, Cook has shown himself to be an able manager of Jobs' legacy. He has extracted huge profits from Jobs' ideas and has kept the iOS trains running on time.

But high-tech valuations aren't driven by able management, huge profits or trains that stay on their tracks. High valuations, in the form of extreme price-to-earnings ratios, come from doing something new, something different, something no one else is doing or can do.

When Apple launched the iPod, the iPhone and then the iPad, that's what it was doing. It was thinking different.

Apple hasn't had a new hit since Cook took over. It has tweaked its existing product line, it has scaled it, extracted money and profit. But it hasn't delivered a single new product worth mentioning.

I'm afraid "mobile commerce" isn't it, either. TouchID, as a way to enable and secure mobile payments, is a nifty thing to have, but it's not a game-changer. It's not transaction processing.

If Apple can help iPhone owners buy more stuff through TouchID, it's still just acting as one link in a long chain, and a minor one at that. The money in transactions comes from processing, it comes from banking and it comes from handling the merchandise.

Even if Apple announced a tie-up tomorrow with, say, Wal-Mart (WMT), turning that merchant's online operations into an Apple version of the Amazon (AMZN) superstore, it wouldn't move the value needle much. It would boost Wal-Mart, not Apple.


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