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The Withering of Apple Will Take Time

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With Lance Armstrong as his guide, the author considers Apple.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL With Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) recent 23% price decline, I've recently been sucked back into trading/positioning in this name. This is forcing me to sift through my feelings and the outlook for the iconic company. I own none of the products and haven't had a position since I shorted it when it crossed $500 back in February of 2012. I escaped when it reversed lower two days later.

I've stayed away from Apple for most of my career, and as a contrarian (bear mode), that has mostly resulted in much lost opportunity cost. It wasn't just the stock price or company outlook I struggled to relate to. Wasn't an iPod just like a Sony (NYSE:SNE) Walkman or my MP3 Player from Rhythm Networks? I didn't get it.

It was like Lance Armstrong and bicycling. I rode all around town, might have sideswiped a few people, but those Spandex-clad "on your left" alpha males never endeared me. I can't speak to Armstrong's legacy but I doubt it can ever be what it might have been. Did he cheat? Within the rules, for sure. Within reality, no. He just twisted and covered better and won by pushing himself the hardest among a bunch of other cheaters. Did he use his stature to leverage and bully? Of course. And now he lies on his couch in Austin looking at some old smelly yellow shirts.

Likewise, the controversy over the sycophant flattery of Steve Jobs' brilliant but abusive ways, was always resolved by pointing to the growing lines outside stores as new products were released. He was our Monster/Master and we embraced him. But now with a few missteps following his passing, an inferior maps app, questions of why even a mini iPad was needed, and most importantly the perceptional drift of becoming a bully that demands billions of dollars to patent the curves on a rectangle, has taken the bloom off the Apple rose.

Yes, Armstrong and Jobs both played with hard elbows, but they did ultimately deliver the best, nearly untouchable, performances over many years in an arena where competitors had the same access to all the same tools. However regulators defined the rules, the knowledge, gadgets, and tools, and winks were open and used equally across the playing field . Armstrong and Jobs embraced new ideas, innovated, and succeeded unlike any others. They are now gone, and the bloom is off the rose.

But the withering of Apple will take time. And I now find myself with a 7 strike, 4 expiration option position that has a bullish bent. The question is now, can bullies last?

Twitter: @steve13smith

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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