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Apple an 'antifragile monopoly,' more secure than critics believe, analyst claims

In spite of views by some investors and critics, Apple is an "antifragile monopoly" that can withstand competition from other giants in the high-tech sector like Amazon and Google, an analyst argued on Thursday.




While people have been worried about Apple's competitiveness, the company displays "superior pricing power," UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said in a memo obtained by AppleInsider, making reference to ideas by outside analyst Horace Dediu. Pricing power is said to be a signature of monopolies, and the memo noted that in the last quarter, Apple achieved an average selling price for the iPhone nearing $700.

The iPhone 7 starts at $649, but many people opt for extra storage and/or the Plus model, which has proven unexpectedly popular —likely because of its its dual-lens camera.

Berkshire Hathaway's recent boost of its Apple stake to $17 billion is a sign that its CEO, Warren Buffett, is convinced Apple has a "moat" like Coke and Wells Fargo, making it more resistant to change, Milunovich wrote.

On "antifragility," a concept by thinker Nassim Taleb, the note suggests that Apple is developing a better ability to compete and adapt precisely because it's facing down many threats. The company can be integrated or modular as needed, Dediu said, and displays a relentless focus on what it needs to do — being under fire constantly may mean it keeps its eye on improving products, for instance.

Worrying signs would be "complacency, platform mistakes, or [an] unwillingness to cannibalize itself," the memo noted.

Some critics have in fact accused Apple of complacency, citing a lack of revolutionary products. Even the "iPhone 8," due later this year, is expected to count an OLED screen and wireless charging among its signature features, but these technologies have already been implemented in some Android phones.