There are signs when a business does not do it well. Earnings and profits go down over time is a good sign that things are not going well. An anemic share price relative to income and profit may be another sign. What more?
Adding employees is a common sign that, of course, a company has decided not to have trained, and a certain employee's weight is needed to reduce costs. What signs has Apple shown in recent years that things aren't going well? What about Microsoft?
See what spells
My technology career covers a few decades, and one thing I've learned is not relying on PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets for new product presentations or business ventures. Slideshows and spreadsheets to support bullet points are too easy to create, and often reflect real world conditions.
Some technology companies are laser focused, and some are like crazy leaders with far more ideas than an understanding of how to achieve success with an idea. These people throw mud against the wall to see which pins.
Samsung is a good example of the sludge method. Enough slamp marks that Samsung makes here and there. Microsoft is a similar example. The company used to be Windows and Office, and both make up the lion's share of Microsoft's profits. But the manuscript was on the wall for a couple of decades, so the Redmond company spent thousands of dollars diversifying.
How did it work? It was mud on a slippery wall and not much firm.
Last year, Microsoft announced that nearly 3,000 people would lose their jobs. A few months earlier, nearly 2000 people in the smartphone industry were deleted. The year before, around 7,500 jobs were cut and the company wrote over $ 7.5 billion thanks to a very sour Nokia purchase. Another news report says that thousands are about to get the ax.
See the problem?
One can argue that such measures are needed when Microsoft changes course, moves away from Windows, Office and PCs against cloud computing, et al. The reality is this. Not much mud has attached to the wall recently. Technology students said Microsoft's Surface Notebooks would pinch Apple and the Mac into the market. Instead, Surface has been clobbered with falling sales as Microsoft still does not have answers to the mobile device revolution.
It's not cumbersome hybrid tablet-cum notebooks that aren't good laptops and even worse as tablets.
Trust me, guys. The answer is not Windows anywhere because, and Microsoft should know this, the world is tired of Windows. And personal computers. The only growth anywhere is with cheap Chromebooks (where no one is profitable) and premium Macs (where Apple takes half the PC industry's profits).
Compare Microsoft's approach to trying something to make a non-Windows or non-Office money with Apple. Now we are talking laser focus. Every new Apple product works very well with today's Apple products and has been such a focus for many years. The iPod only worked with the Mac at first, then Windows later, but the popularity took millions of customers into Apple stores.
Mac sales have benefited from iPod's halo effect. The iPhone only improved that relationship. Ditto for iPad. They work well, but better together. See? It's an iPhone accessory. The hot selling AirPods? iPhone accessories (but also work on Mac and iPad). Step by step, and with great discipline, Apple has built a juggernaut not by throwing product sludge against a wall to see which pins, but by creating products that customers want to use, and works best when it is in Apple's ecosystem.
The tall doesn't lie. Nor does it make mud that does not stick to the wall.