Apple's (AAPL) Autonomous Vehicle Program Said on Chopping Block - Lynx Equity Strategies

January 15, 2019 1:42 PM

Lynx Equity Strategies analysts KC Rajkumar and Jahanara Nissar said they are picking up chatter that Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) secretive autonomous vehicle program could be on the chopping block.

If true, the analysts suggested this is significant for several reasons:

1) an abrupt reversal of a high-profile program, which, according to publicly available data, was expanding in recent years,

2) denies Appleā€™s Services segment a new growth vector outside of core Apple devices and

3) the weakness in iPhone sales may be significant enough to warrant belt-tightening in non-core programs by the way of program termination and head count reduction, the first in many years.

"A little over a month ago in Dec, we wrote about limited opex cuts in some non-core programs such as the autonomous driving program," they write. "Our latest checks, solidified after discussions at CES, leads us to believe that perhaps the entire program may be on the chopping block.:

They have two take-aways:

1) A sudden and significant shortfall in iPhone revenue is causing a level of distress within Apple that is forcing it to make hard choices, and

2) if Apple, this most well-resourced of companies, is having to cut back on autonomous vehicle investment, what does that tell us about the prospects of the overall autonomous vehicle industry?

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