This is goodbye

AAPL breakup
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My Breakup Letter to Apple

Dear Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL),

I’ll cut right to the chase: It’s over between us. We had some good times and I’m thankful for that, but the arcs of our lives have led us in different directions.

It’s over.

Look, you know I love you. I still use that old iPod shuffle when I go running for cripes sake. But we’re very different now than when we started … and it’s time to move on.

I’ll never forget the first time we met. It was 2008 and I was in a rough spot. I had done some stock market games in high school but had finally started to have a serious relationship with stocks. I was convinced I could find a life-changing relationship with a publicly traded company, one where we could grow and be happy together with compound interest for 50 or 60 or even 100 years.

You probably think that’s naïve. And maybe it still is. But that’s how I feel.

Of course the stock market proved to be a lot more than I had bargained for, and I began to wonder if I’d ever have a relationship with a stock that lasted more than a few weeks. Some investments reduced me to tears in short order as they took my money and ran. Others were giddy rebound relationships that helped make me whole again, but I knew they wouldn’t last and always left before they got too serious.

I noticed you, of course, but didn’t even consider you in my league. You were around $200 a share at this point and I didn’t think I had the capital.

But we started flirting in 2011 and I started to get confident. So I made my move in the low $400s — and in about a year, you had almost doubled.

I only encouraged you, of course. I bought more — because on paper, you were perfect. I even started telling my friends I would hold you forever — that no stock could ever treat me like you did, and that you could provide for my children and my children’s children.

I should have known then that this would end badly.

Your margins started to slip. You stopped innovating and started iterating. Aside from that dividend and buyback announcement (which seemed to come more from guilt than love), you have never returned any of your capital to me.

Even your best friend Brian White, who always said you were destined for $1,111, admitted he had misjudged you.

I could tolerate it at the beginning, making excuses after that minor crash in mid-2012 and waiting faithfully for you to rebound. But things have really gotten ugly over the past few months and I simply can’t bear it anymore.

I’m still fascinated with you … and maybe I always will be. Your product line is sexy, your balance sheet is strong and your valuation remains very attractive. But I’m tired of telling myself this is just a natural transition from growth to value, or that I see the real you while others on Wall Street are just plain wrong.

The sad fact is that there are other fish in the sea, Apple. And I deserve better returns.

You have a lot to offer, but I think there’s a better investment for me out there — and I’m committed to finding it.

It’s not you, Apple. It’s me.

There’s more to life than a forward P/E of less than 9. And it’s time to say goodbye.

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Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at editor@investorplace.com or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP.

As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Of course, when he’s alone and the sunlight hits his smartphone just so … he thinks fondly of the time not so long ago when he was long Apple.

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