Apple--buy on the blip?

07/13/2010 2:21 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

Well, actually on two blips.

The first is the blip—cost to investors about $6.3 billion on a $6.93 a share drop in Apple (AAPL) shares on July 13—created by research from Consumer Reports that argues that the iPhone4 dropped call issues are the result of a hardware problem.

The second—less visible in light of the furor caused by the Consumer Reports story—is a loss in market share for the iPhone in the three months that ended in May 2010. Research in Motion’s (RIMM) Blackberry was the leading smartphone in the period with a 41.7% share according to comScore. Apple’s market share fell to 24.4%, down from 25.4% in February. Google’s Android platform picked up 4 percentage points to a 13% share.

The cost to Apple of replacing iPhone4 phones, if the problem is a hardware issue, is about $100 million, Sterne Agee estimates. That seems like a small bite of Apple’s $13 billion to $15 billion quarterly revenue run rate

 But a bigger problem than replacement costs is the effect that the bad publicity might have on sales just ahead of the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons. Apple will need to scurry to get the problem resolved in that time frame, especially given the complexity of Apple’s out-sourced supply chain for the iPhone.

The drop in market share, on the other hand, is likely to fix itself.The best guess among Wall Street analysts and industry observes is that the drop in Apple’s market share in May was a direct result of potential iPhone buyers putting off purchases as they waited for the release of Apple’s new iPhone 4 models.

 If market history repeats itself that dip will be followed by a surge of purchasing as the new models hit the stores.

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