Apple’s first quarter has felt like a whole (bad) year

Apple (AAPL) is going through what you could generously call “difficult” times. The company is battling a high-profile antitrust battle with the Justice Department, declining iPhone sales in China and a regulatory investigation in the European Union. And these are just the headlines from last week.

The company is still lacking when it comes to generic AI capabilities. And while it’s widely expected to debut some sort of generic AI offering during its WWDC developer event on June 10, it could be impressive enough if it manages to catch off its Big Tech rivals, including Microsoft (MSFT) and Google. Demonstration will be required. (GOOG, Google).

All of this is hurting Apple’s stock price. Shares of the iPhone maker have fallen more than 7% since the beginning of the year and are up only 6.25% over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, Microsoft shares are up 14% year to date and 49% in the last 12 months. Google? Shares of the search giant are up 9% year to date and 43% in the last 12 months.

Suffice it to say that Apple’s 2024 is not going well.

Apple’s China problem

Apple’s latest headache came on Tuesday, when bloombergCiting Chinese government data, it reported that iPhone shipments in the country declined 33% year on year in February.

China is Apple’s third-largest market after North America and Europe. In 2023, the region accounted for $72.6 billion of Apple’s total revenue of $383.3 billion. This accounts for approximately 19% of the company’s sales.

And this is not at all unexpected. earlier this month, Counterpoint Research reported iPhone sales in the country have declined by 24% year-on-year during the first six weeks of 2024. Total smartphone unit sales in China declined 7% during the same period.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking during an event…

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