Saturday, April 13, 2013

Computer Technology and Valuation

            I admit to being a tech junkie.  In the last twenty years I have not gone three months without buying a new computer, tablet or phone – until this year.  This is not for lack of desire.  I have the money in bank and am as anxious to buy as I have ever been.  I feel like a mini Warren Buffett.  My gun is loaded, but there is nothing to shoot at.

            Last fall I did buy three new devices – an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, and a Microsoft Surface RT.  The RT made it two weeks before I donated it to Caltech.  Windows 8 on my PCs suffered the same fate.  I went to the trouble to install it on a couple of machines and then spent a weekend going back to 7.  The same was true of Office 365.  I bought it, installed it, and then spent a day going back to 2010.  This is the first time I have ever gone backward with office, but I hated the sliding cursor in Excel and the program seemed generally slower.

            The last new computers I bought were two retina display MacBooks.  The displays are beautiful and I still love the machines, but the computers are almost a year old - ancient by my standards.  Ironically, I run Windows 7 on both of them because I find it to be more flexible than OSX which also needs major innovation.

            TVs have even been worse.  I keep wanting a new one but hate 3D.  I can’t tell the difference between the Sony panel I bought two years ago and current models.

            Worst of all there is nothing I am dying for that is coming out soon.  Well Apple TV maybe, but that has been coming for years now.  I feel like Lucy, Charlie Brown and the football on that one.  I will buy the new iPad and mini iPad when Apple updates them, but I am not pining for either.  Unless the iPhone 5s is a meaningful upgrade from the 5, I may have to pass on that one. 

            So that’s the problem.  I am sucker for any new technology.  I have the money.  I want to buy, but the shelves are bare.  The point of all this is what does it mean for the valuation of computer and technology device companies?  If one the world’s easiest mark isn’t buying, what about people who are not such suckers?

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