Not ‘For Me’

One of the bright sparks from today’s Q2 earnings release was record revenue in the “Services” category (Apple Music, iTunes, the App Stores, iBooks, and so forth). On the call, both Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri emphasized that they’d continue to develop and improve all of their cloud services.

I certainly hope that’s the case because, as David Sparks notes, that category is in dire need. Cloud services may be generating record revenue, but they’re almost certainly Apple’s least-refined offerings:

My favorite music largely includes obscure living jazz artists and less obscure dead jazz artists. I’ve wasted hours favoriting albums and marking other “recommended” playlists as ones I don’t like. Nevertheless, I open iTunes nearly every day as I work at my iMac and get the same Selina Gomez [sic] album thrown at me in place of Theloneus Monk.

When I said that I was concerned that one of Cook’s comments on the call seemed to indicate that “shareholders come first, and Apple’s entire R&D strategy revolves around them”, this is what I meant: celebrating record revenues in a product category that is the source of many blemishes on Apple’s record. It’s an earnings call — and one in which they have to find bright spots for investors for whom $50 billion in revenue just isn’t enough — but I hope the internal discussion reinforces that financial results are not necessarily indicative of product quality or satisfaction.