Jul 26, 2012

The 4 Horsemen of the High-Tech Apocalypse

AAPL, IBM, AMZN, SI will put the robots in power

I recently penned an article about how during the past two decades, tech innovations have gutted our job market, upending industries from media to retailing to manufacturing. The Atlantic also had a story out last week about “The Post-Employee Economy” that discusses how high-tech means allow for big savings for consumers and big gains for productivity … but very little hope for labor and the prospect of jobs.

But that stuff is mild compared to a CNN post I just stumbled across from May that kicks around the idea that losing our jobs to computers actually might be a good thing. Someone actually muses that, “In my opinion, many of the jobs that are being fought over by unions today are jobs that will be outlawed within several generations as inhumane.”

Really? Tell that to an out-of-work roofer just hoping for a paycheck to get by in 2012.
Of course, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Technology is on the march, and its consequences are unavoidable. So I thought I’d take the natural next step here as an investor. After all, if we’re going to lose our jobs to computers, we might as well invest in the companies that make the job killers … right?

Here are my picks for the four horsemen of the high-tech apocalypse: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Siemens (NYSE:SI).

Apple — Media and Communication

Apple blew up the music industry with its iPod. It has redefined mobile communications with its iPhone and iPad. And its aggressive tactics that shave 30% off app profits (after developers jump through Apple’s approval hoops) and squeeze publishers, bands and other content creators ensure Apple keeps a stranglehold on nearly every media channel.

Click to Enlarge
Of course, alternative methods of communication and entertainment still exist … for now. But the problem is that the only way companies can compete with Apple is to abandon profitability altogether. As Horace Dediu of Asymco points out, Apple makes just under 9% of all cell phones worldwide, but iPhones pull in 75% of profit made by all makers. Check out what that looks like:

If you believe in a computer takeover, then you should believe that we’ll writing emails about it, reading about it, listening to podcasts about it and watching video about it on Apple products.

Well … if the machines don’t censor us first, of course.

Read the full article at - http://www.investorplace.com/2012/07/the-4-horsemen-of-the-high-tech-apocalypse-aapl-amzn-ibm-si/