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Tim Culpan

Apple Earnings Are a Big Step Back for Transparency

Providing information to stakeholders is an important mission for any company, and the iPhone maker is leaving out key metrics.

Not so clear.

Not so clear.

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

It’s been more than two years since Apple Inc. issued revenue guidance. The iPhone maker initially blamed the Covid-19 pandemic, and later added chip shortages, for its inability to forecast the future. Yet the move is part of a worrying trend toward decreasing transparency at the world’s largest company.

On January 28, 2020, just as lockdown measures were shutting parts of China and a new virus was arriving on U.S. shores, Apple gave a wider than usual March-quarter guidance range because of uncertainty about both consumer demand and supply chain impact. The forecast was for revenue of $63 billion to $67 billion, well ahead of estimates of $62.3 billion, and factored in supply chain struggles from the virus, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said at the time.