Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Oil, Apple, Democrats, and the Media

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
The other day I was driving to work when I heard that Apple had just released their most recent quarterly earnings.  For the most recent quarter, they had earnings of over $13 billion.  I thought to myself, "Wow, that seems like an awful lot."

I do know that Apple is a tremendously successful company providing goods and services that people around the globe desire.  As a capitalist, I do not begrudge them one bit the amount of profit they make in the marketplace.  Still, curiousity got the better of me and I wanted to see just how that $13 billion in profit compares to other companies.

What better company to compare Apple's earnings to than one of the greedy oil companies.  After all, Exxon Mobil and other oil companies have been demonized by Barack Obama, his fellow Democrats, and the media every time they release their quarterly profit numbers.  Obama wants to impose a "windfall" tax on their profits and some Democrats have proposed a "Reasonable Profits Board" to regulate oil company profits.

English: To create this SVG-format logo, I too...
Image via Wikipedia
The most recent quarterly earnings report from Exxon that I could find was released in October of 2011.  During that quarter, Exxon reported profits of $10.3 billion dollars.  Not shabby, but nearly $3 billion less than Apple just announced.  I wonder if Democrats would consider Apple's $13 billion a reasonable amount of profit?

Perhaps a more telling way to look at it would be to look at the profit margin as opposed to strictly the dollar profit of the company.  Now most politicians and members of the media would not know the difference between profit and profit margin if it bit them on the ass.  In simple terms, profit margin is the amount of profit for every dollar of sales or revenue brought it.

Exxon had revenue of $125 billion in order to achieve their $10 billion in profit.  That means that for every $1 in revenue they earned a mere 8 cents on the dollar, a profit margin of 8%.  Apple's $13 billion in profit came from $46 billion in revenue for a profit margin of 28% for every dollar of revenue.  That is 3.5 times the profit rate that Exxon earned.

The Democrats and the media demonize Exxon for their profits implying that Exxon is ripping off customers to achieve their high profits.  However, if any company could be accused of gauging the customer, logic would seem to dictate that the company earning 28 cents on the dollar is more likely gauging the customer than the one earning 8 cents on the dollar.

Now, I am definitely NOT saying that Apple is ripping off their customers.  They make a fine product and have created a demand for that product.  My point is to highlight the hypocrisy of the left.  Rather than comment on how high Apple's profit is, the media talks about how great Apple is. By the way, Apple is one of those companies sitting on a ton of cash (nearly $100 billion) and outsourcing their production to China but you don't hear any outrage about how they could be using that money to produce goods and jobs here.
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  1. Well, we've seen this kind of thing play out before haven't we? It's the same thing with rich guys -- they're all bad unless they're on the left, and the same logic (or lack thereof) seems to factor in when talking about corporations. Meanwhile, we've got a government dead set on putting policies in place that keep oil prices high (no Keystone pipeline, gas taxed at every level of govt., etc.) It'll drive you nuts to think about it too much.



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