Matthew Waterman
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Matthew Waterman in Brand Power,

How Media Spins Headlines To Make Good Investments Sound Bad

I ran across this headline in the news from Barron's today; "IBM Will Never Catch Amazon, Microsoft in Cloud, Says Deutsche"

Deutsches indeed. Both of them, if you get my very old SNL reference.

This is a classic example of media parroting without any added injection of analysis or opinion. However, what happens here is not without effect. Because it is a repeat of a negative sentiment, it becomes itself a negative sentiment. 

But it begs the question: Does IBM actually need to catch anyone else in cloud computing?

Well, the much longer and more complicated answer opens up a great big ol' can of worms, but the short answer is no

The problem here is that as readers, we are trying to intake as much information as quickly as we can, and good investment decisions can take substantial amounts of time to make. News in this more digestible form is given this way because they assume you have already done your due diligence. In other words, news is meant to enhance your decisions, not make them for you.

But back to IBM, and the question presented earlier; this is a classic problem that I spot with people making comparisons of technology companies. Each of the companies mentioned has a very different business niche, but for some reason when people talk about them, it's as if they were the exact same business. They lump the performance of Alphabet (GOOGL), (GOOG) stock together with Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN)Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), Internationa Business Machines (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), etc., etc. And then they make comparisons against each other as if they were all doing the exact same things.

But each of these companies is very different, and it takes substantial amounts of knowledge to understand even some of the most basic functions that each one serves. A person could just as easily say "Amazon Will Never Catch Up To IBM or Microsoft's Profit Margins"

If you ask me, that's a question that truly begs to be asked.