by Tom Kaneshige

Apple Haters, Chill Out

Apr 30, 20092 mins

Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs knows drama.

Will the next iPhone debut at this year’s sold out World Wide Developers Conference on June 8? What’s this mysterious Apple tablet with a 10-inch touchscreen? Can Verizon land a role in iPhone’s success story? Will the world’s greatest innovator recover from his health woes and return to Apple this summer?

Most importantly, can Jobs defy the odds and bulldoze his old house?

Haters love to rip Apple, but the Silicon Valley (and now Wall Street) darling continues to defy conventional wisdom. Microsoft and others hammered Apple for its high prices in a recession, and so Apple answered critics with rosy quarterly earnings earlier this month. In comparison, Microsoft posted a weak quarter with sales and profits sliding.

Searching for something rotten in Cupertino, do-gooders frowned upon Apple for initially allowing and then pulling a really stupid iPhone app, called Baby Shaker, from its AppStore shelves. Yet it makes more sense to question Apple’s self-imposed role as morality cop in an emerging marketplace. (Of course, the even bigger question: What goes for entertainment these days?)

Then bloggers got into the Apple-hating act when they raced to make an unenlightened analysis on Apple’s 10-Q. They seized on the fact that Apple’s retail group had “14,000 full-time equivalent employees,” down from 15,600 three months earlier. The haters roared that Apple must have fired 1,600 retail workers!

Anything for a pageview, I guess.

Sure, sales sputtered at Apple’s 252 retail stores: average revenue per store was $5.9 million, down from $7.1 million a year earlier. But does this mean Apple fired 1,600 retail workers? Hardly. The catchphrase is “full-time equivalent.” Apple could just as easily have cut worker hours and reduced headcount through attrition.

To all the haters, the truth is that Apple is one of the few stars shining brightly in this gloomy economy.

Got a different take? Send me an email at Tom Kaneshige. Or follow me on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline.