Apple Might Miss High-End of Analyst Estimates, Microsoft Earnings Hint

While Apple, Inc. (AAPL) will almost assuredly see sales records on the back of strong iPhone 6/6+ sales in Q4 2014, Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) earnings report does highlight potential causes for concern in Apple’s earnings, which will be reported today after the market bell.

Specifically Microsoft’s struggles in Japan illustrate soft consumer spending in one of the iPhone’s most dominant markets.  Likewise the issues experienced by Microsoft in China — a key growth market for Apple — and the effects of Apple’s Q4 pullout from Russia may also accumulate to leave iPhone sales closer to 65 million units — a record, but short of some analysts’ lofty expectations.

The iPhone 6 is a status symbol in China, but Apple — like all U.S. tech firms — faces geopolitical concerns in the world’s biggest device market. [Image Source: VR-Zone]
Further, whether Apple is able to escape the Chinese and Japanese sales issues in Q4 on account to pent up demand for the long-awaited larger iPhone, it may still see these issues pop up in its Q1 sales, now that the demand has been released.

Thus investors should pay a careful eye to Apple’s performance in China and Japan during calendar Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 (Q1 2015 and Q2 2015 in Apple’s fiscal year).  Don’t be surprised if you see a bit of disappointment, with regards to sales in these regions, given the underlying issues.