It is not ok to forget basic math…

Is it ok to forget basic math simply because we are reporting to readers some information on the web? I am asking because today Apple was announcing its quarterly numbers and the first reports from specialists were not even able to get the math right. This is rather discouraging considering that this is their full time work for most.

In nutshell:

  • 4.2 billion$/week in revenue vs 3.3 billion $/week in revenue for same quarter a year ago
  • 13.08 billion in total profit over 13 weeks versus 13.06 billion $ for the 14 week quarter a year ago.

This is where the problem start, reading the so-called “serious” news outlet. In term of revenue, the YOY increase is about 27% which is rather impressive for a mammoth-like corporation in this economic context. However how many of these analysts, those providing readers with advices with regards to what to do with their money, have written in the minutes after Apple’s announcement that the profits were flat (or even declining), thus …

I am not an economist but I would grade that statement with a failing mark would it be a math exam. I would certainly expect a high school student to get this right.

13.08 billion over 13 weeks is 1.006 billion $ / week while 13.1 billion over 14 week is 0.933 billion $ / week. This actually translates to an increase in profit of about 7.8% YOY. This is not a flat nor decreasing scenario anymore.

We can of course argue about the significance of this increase (and this is not the place to do so!) but at least we are comparing and reporting the right information. Everything else has nothing to do with hard numbers 😉

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