Done with AAPL
I believe I informed you in my last post that I had sold 1/2 my AAPL stake on the eve of the entire stake achieving a one-bagger, so that, as Cramer says, I was playing with "house money." Apple's current P/E, minus cash, is about 16 - on the high end of what it usually is.
But valuation and price appreciation are only part of why I sold. I recently installed the OS 10.8.2 update. iCloud integration is built in to this version of Mac OS like never before. The implementation was buggy and released early, and everything on my computer - mail, calendar, chat, notes, web bookmarks - broke, demanding my iCloud password and then choking when I input the password, with no explanation other than "incorrect password." The password was correct; checking Console.app, which a user should never have to do, revealed that I had not accepted the new iCloud TOS. Of course, those TOS had never been offered to me. Signing out of iCloud, and then back in, corrected that problem.
However, signing out of iCloud also gave me a series of increasingly threatening dialogs warning that some of my data would be nuked if I proceeded. At the end of the process, my web bookmarks were munged and data was lost; and all my calendars were stored on iCloud only; the local copy was deleted.
I don't particularly want to use iCloud and I was not given the option of whether I wanted to; my penalty for staying signed out of it is that my local calendars were nuked and I lost a lot of bookmarks. God knows what would have happened had I started storing documents in 'the Cloud.'
1) Apple notes they will send your data out of the United States. They don't mention that this is where contracts made with US users do not apply and cannot be enforced. Therefore Apple's end of the agreement is legally null - they can do as they please.
Threatening to nuke my data, and then making good on the threat, when I logged out of a service I never consented to log in to, was an eye-opener. This is a new Apple.
I am an old Apple user, since 1981; I remember once when Steve Jobs lost his CEO job and his replacement was a guy who was world famous for optimizing supply chains and delivering product to every corner of the globe on time. No, I don't mean 2012, I mean 1996. Or wait, maybe I do mean 2012.
As a passionate Apple fan, I have been annoyed at Apple's decisions before. But the last time I felt like Apple had, philosophically, gone off the rails, was 1997, when I tried to order a PowerMac 8600, waited 4 months (!) for the order to be filled, only to have it cancelled with no explanation and no contact, and to be told, when I called to complain, that if I really wanted a powermac I should buy a 7300.
It may be that no one cares about things like the above; that trusting your data to the 'cloud' is the way of the future; and that customer expectations are not so important as the march of technological progress. My privacy concerns were brushed off by my friends who work at Apple as 'paranoia.' My girlfriend thinks I should switch to Ubuntu. But the last time I had this sinking feeling in my gut, Apple shares went on a ten year decline. I am thinking long and hard about whether I want my 'house money' in Apple over the long haul, or whether I couldn't find a better place to put it.