Apple Plunges; Is It Cheap Tech's Time?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 29, 2008

Apple’s stock plunged a rather stunning 18% today, which is all the more amazing since the Dow fell only—only!—7%. Analysts are worried consumers will cut back, and it’s not a leap to think Apple’s generally higher-ticket PCs could be on their cutback list. It’s not alone, though. Many other tech stocks got hammered today, too, as the bailout package failed to pass. As the CNET story put it:


Longtime technology analyst Ashok Kumar, of brokerage Collins Stewart, said the macroeconomic concerns will weigh heavily on the technology industry, which is still perceived as a discretionary expenditure for both consumers and businesses.


But tech companies are nothing if not resourceful, and already, I’m getting pitches on companies hoping to capitalize on the bad times by offering tech on the cheap. PropertyRoom.com, for instance, auctions electronics and others goods that were stolen, seized, or found by law enforcement agencies. FixYa is a community of people who ask for, and provide, free help on repairing gear and dealing with technical issues on various products. There’s also a paid version for those in a hurry, and some folks are even earning a little extra coin for their help.

OK, so these may just mean publicists sense a golden opportunity to pitch their companies in these suddenly much tougher times. And I don’t think I’m ready to gift stolen property yet—though if the market keeps heading south, all bets are off (and of course there’s always eBay). But if many other people will be only too happy to find steals, as it were, on consumer electronics, I wouldn’t blame them a bit. And getting stuff fixed instead of buying the next new, premium-priced version, especially if I can get free help, sounds pretty good.

There’s no way tech companies, which have been shielded a bit from the tanking economy, will be spared from the current economic carnage. Those that can offer real savings will be the ones that get whatever money hasn’t been vaporized by the market.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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