* Posts by gtardy

9 posts • joined 4 Nov 2011

Apple MacBook 2015: Twelve inches of slim and shiny fanboi joy


Re: Overpriced, underpowered, underconnected, and with a soon peeling display

You couldn't be any further from the truth. I have just finished a Master of Law, have been looking for a job since April.

But I would have better work for Dell (or any such company that actually cares a minimum for their customers) than for Apple. If a company has no qualms about screwing their customers over again and again, what a chance they treat their empoyees any better?


Overpriced, underpowered, underconnected, and with a soon peeling display

I just replaced my overpriced, faulty MacBookPro 15 (graphics card "glitches").

Have you heard of Apple's 2 worldwide recalls (MacBooks of 2007 and 2011), and their latest "screen-peeling" scandal ?

Then you will understand that, for my latest notebook, I preferred taking a safer bet... with the new Dell XPS 13.

The Dell XPS 13 is a machine built for business: latest Intel Core 5 processor, 8GB memory and 256GB SSD storage, 13.3 inch display (1920x1080 pixels, matte, razor-thin bezel)... with 2 USB 3.0 ports, Mini Display Port and power port ! And light, too, with just 1.18 kg (2.6 lb).

All for CHF 1'030 (which is about USD 1'115, GBP 735 or EUR 990) + VAT, free shipping.

Yep, you read it right, roughly 40% cheaper than the new MacBook Air, despite a much more powerful processor, more readable (matte) display, thinner bezel, and plenty more ports than what Apple fanbois could ever dream of !!!

Plus I don't have to worry about a failing graphics card or peeling display just a few years down the road. A sounder sleep is priceless.


PC sales dip below 2009 levels, with Japanese sales off 44 per cent

Thumb Down

Dell market share down ? Not a surprise !

Dell does everything to prevent new orders. Here is at least 8 ways how :

1) Dell sales representatives know little (outside of US: nothing) about their products.

2) Dell has dozens of phone numbers leading to only a couple of teams, hence the unnecessary confusion.

3) Even Dell representatives don't agree with each other on which team should get a single customer's case.

4) Dell's automated phone service sends you to an outsourced sales representative who doesn't speak the same language and tries to sell you different, more expensive products than found on the Dell website.

5) Dell sends an email to an entreprise customer saying that a representative will reach out, but 2 weeks later still nothing.

6) After 2 messages sent to a dedicated address (Dell_EMEA_VIP@dell.com) and 2 phone calls where it was confirmed they were in direct contact with the responsible person at the aforementioned address, still no answer.

7) And when one does try to put in an order on the Dell website, their free chat doesn't work, displaying an "Invalid login attempt" error.

8) Worse, the Dell website's purchase process changes language half-way through. If you can't "Deutsch sprechen", hard luck buying anything !


For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE


Apple builds crap computers designed to fail after just a couple of years

"a perfectly good computer for email, web and document editing, and for those functions alone it should be good for another 10 years at least", really ?

If you think an iMac can last that long, your are day dreaming. Apple has a long history of building crap computers that are designed to fail after just a couple of years.

Only yesterday, The Register reported on the latest Applegate : like a repeat of the 2007 scandal, newer MacBook Pros built in 2009 and later exhibit a badly soldered discrete graphics card that often fails shortly after the end of the warranty. And Apple won't make any effort to keep you happy, unless you start a class action against them.

So if you really need an Apple computer for any reason, beside the $3'000 that costs a top-of-the-range MacBook Pro, you better put aside 10s of thousands for your future legal costs against the crap company.


Apple: Fine, we admit it – MacBook Pros suffer wonky GPU crapness


Apple takes no responsibility for its crap.

Apple says "a small percentage of MacBook Pro systems" are affected. What a nonsense!

All MacBook Pros are crap, it's just a matter of time. What Apple means is that only a small percentage will fail within the warranty period, and after that you are on your own. No wonder Apple could amass such a huge pile of wad (about $160B today), selling defective goods and not taking any responsibility for it.

I used my MacBook Pro (top of the range 15-inch, summer 2007) for 3.5 years, and then the screen started to freeze. And what did Apple offer me ? No repair or replacement, but only 5% on my next purchase. Thanks, but no thanks.

A friend purchased his MacBook Pro (15-inch, fall 2011) and had its motherboard swapped already 3 times in as many years because of a problem with the graphics card and audio connector.

This company is a sham. When I spend $3'000+ on a laptop, I expect to enjoy my investment for more than a couple of years. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


Activist hedge fund Taconic ups CA stake


your numbers don't add up

If "CA has a market capitalization of $10.3bn" with "$2.3bn in cash and equivalents and $1.3bn in debt", how do you come to the conclusion that "CA is a roughly $5bn company"?

I am afraid that your numbers don't add up.


Motorola Pro+ Qwerty Android smartphone


This deserves at least 80% given the price!

I found this review a bit harsh.

Granted, 512MB of memory, a single 1GHz processor and 5MP camera is on the weak side given the latest crop of smartphones. The latter point is of lesser importance to me because no phone camera could rival my 12MP dedicated camera (a Panasonic).

But, for God's sake, this is the only Android smartphone with a non-slide QWERTY keyboard like the Blackberry. And given the price - a mere C$350 + taxes (total: C$400 without a contract)! - this is a great deal. Add $25 to unlock, and you are ready to enjoy this unique form factor worldwide! By comparison, the latest crop of smartphones I was referring to earlier cost nearly double (e.g. Samsung Galaxy S II at C$600 + taxes).

The review says one thing right: the battery life is great. One day and a half of intensive use, maybe. But in my normal (less intensive?) routine, it lasts 3-4 days easy.

So, coming back to the above title, if you judge this smartphone on its qualities (e.g. VGA screen, battery life, serious apps and admittedly nothing more than decent performance) relative to its dirty cheap price, I would say it deserves at least a 80%.


Groupon shares plunge: Drain in sight


The bankers who sold Groupon for $20 must have smoked the carpet!

It is only natural that Groupon's share price tumble. A week before the IPO, I had publicly warned of this and set a target price of between $8.22 and $10.25. How did I come to this number?

Well, Groupon has a rather simple business model that can be modeled as: margin x average price of product x number of products sold.

The former is about 40% and decreasing (with large differences in geographies such as China where we are talking no more than 10%). The latter can be estimated from the number of users and merchants, of which no reasonable forecast could explain the IPO price of $20 per share.

In my analysis, I pointed at the small float as a reason for the seemingly high IPO share price. I now expect another huge drop after the IPO lock-up period ends!


Groupon's IPO: don't get too excited about 30% rise


I can't wait for the hype to dwindle and the stock to crash

If "independent analysts such as Morningstar Inc. have valued Groupon at as little as $5 billion", this is for a good reason. And according to my own valuation:

1- poor execution in several key international markets (e.g. ranked #10 in China, #4 in India)

2- fierce competition encouraged by an easily replicable business model

3- a dual-class share structure

4- dubious reasons behind this IPO

For the record, my valuation - based on fundamental analysis assuming Groupon's withdrawal from China and a quick turnaround in other international markets - came to $4.8-$6.2 billions ($8.22-$10.25 per share), still at a premium compared to some other companies such as eConversions (in the UK).

There will always be a debate on the "value" of a company, but I can't resist to give you an extract of my report on the latter two items listed above:

<< A notable risk to public investors comes from the dual-class share structure designed for Groupon's founders to continue controlling the company with 58.1% of the voting power, yet less than 35% of the outstanding shares. In our opinion, this fosters poor corporate governance and should have been avoided.

We also question the reasons behind this IPO. Groupon stated that net proceeds of this offering will not be used to fund operations during the next 12 months. About 85% of the $1,113 million from past private sales of common and preferred stock were used to redeem shares, hence the press's accusation that Groupon is a Ponzi scheme. We expect this IPO to serve the same purpose of transferring wealth from new public investors to existing stockholders. The fact that very little equity is made available to public investors - a common way to maintain a steep valuation in an IPO - reinforces that sentiment. >>

The latter paragraph refers to the float that is so small (Groupon only offered 5.5% of its capital to the public) in order to push up the price per share - following the law of supply of demand. Obviously, every sale of a new block of stock will have the opposite effect.

And when people realize that Groupon has no competitive advantage (thanks to an easily replicable business model) and never manages to turn a profit in the most populous, highest growth markets of China and India, the stock will crash.

I can't wait.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017