The Cupertino firm was ordered to pay damages of 1.03 million yuan ($165,000) in a Chinese suit that involved eight writers and two companies who claim unlicensed copies of their work were distributed through Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) online sore. This amount may seem like small change for the iTunes based empire, but Apple has been ordered to pay out for similar reasons in the past—520,000 yuan ($84,000) was awarded to the Encyclopedia of China Publishing House for copyright infringement in November—and is still appealing the case.
In more encouraging Chinese market news, it appears that sellouts Hong Kong and stockouts occurring throughout the rest of China may mean that the country can’t get enough of the iPad mini and supply constraints for the device are on the rise. According to reports from Barron’s, Topeka Capital Markets’ Brian White found the sales numbers good enough to reiterate a “buy” rating and declare a $1,111 price target.
None of this news has helped Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) share prices as of midday Friday, however, as it appears that the fiscal cliff is taking the wind out of everyone’s sails—including Apple’s. Despite the small rally it managed to pull at close on Thursday, the stalemate in Washington has left most NASDAQ numbers low today.
Forbes analyst Clem Chambers believes Apple’s devaluation as part of this process may be good for the tech heavy index overall—causing NASDAQ to resort itself and lock in index points through Apple’s rebalance. Apple, on the other hand will continue to plummet if the index itself continues to take a beating through cliff negotiations or a fall over the edge.
So it still appears as though short term investors have no reason to hang onto the stock and are bailing quickly in order to enjoy the benefits of their gains while avoiding having to pay taxes on them by selling like crazy. The iPhone 5 has not been a hit, and Apple TV is still a long way off (but maybe not further away then next summer) leaving potential for an amazingly high profit margin to return again someday, but not in the immediate future—unless iPhone 5 sales really are underestimated and the tablet market is enough to pull Apple through. Business Insider analyst Henry Blodget stands to differ from this stance, as he’s noted that tablets and smartphones are now too low-priced a market to generate that kind of revenue as they are no longer high-margin or innovative.
And despite Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) potential for a great future, and its stellar track record—it’s hard to see past the present moment for a lot of investors. As it stands, even though Apple is up a great deal this year from where it fell the last—it’s still lost more money in the recent devaluation than Research in Motion and Hewlett Packard combined even though percentage wise it’s down a lot less—losing $175 billion to RIM and HP’s collective $165 billion.