A lot of room to grow, says one. The beginning of the end, says the other.
Few analysts have championed Apple (aapl) as long or as loyally as Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, who stuck his neck way out ahead of the pack with his early iPhone sales predictions.
Few analysts are more deeply reviled by Apple investors than JMP Securities' Alex Gauna, who has made quite a name for himself as an Apple naysayer. (See The day Apple landed in Gauna.)
We've met Munster several times over the years. He's a nice guy who usually returns our e-mails and phone calls. Gauna is a bit of a mystery. He doesn't answer our e-mails. Until Thursday, we'd never laid eyes on him.
So were were curious to see what would happen when the two appeared face to face on CNBC's The Call to talk about Apple's future in the post-Steve Jobs era.
They did not disappoint. Munster remains bullish and thinks Apple's products have plenty of room for growth. Gauna is skeptical. "This is the beginning of the end," he told viewers, adding that investors who are long the stock should look to diversify.
We've pasted the clip -- which begins with a two-minute stand-up from our former colleague Jon Fortt -- below the fold, along with a cleaned-up transcript of Munster and Gauna's exchange.
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Q: Gene, let me start with you. Jon really laid it out. Can Cook keep the pipeline filled and keep the talent in place? What do you think?
Munster: I think that question is "can Cook keep the pipeline filled from 2017 to 2030" because the pipeline already filled for the next five, six years. So, you know, we think the big road map here really comes down to everything that Jon talked about. Also we believe that TV is the next big area that Steve Jobs has a lot of influence in. That can take him the next several years. To answer your question: nobody better prepared than Tim Cook, and he's got the playbook.
Q (to Gauna): How does Apple change under Tim Ccook? Will it be better necessarily?
Gauna: I don't think it could be any better. Steve Jobs is the great innovator, entrepreneur, business leader of our era. There's no way it gets better from here. How long he can keep the momentum going is the big question.
Q: You sound skeptical.
Gauna: I am skeptical. This is the beginning of the end of the innovation that we have seen Apple usher into the new era. I think investors should be looking for diversified positions out of Apple at this point.
Q: Gene, I mean, that's really strong language from Alex: "Beginning of the end." Do you agree or disagree with that? How do you respond?
Munster: I would disagree. The markets, the size of the markets they are going into, I think there is a lot of room for them to grow. I think there is innovation still to come. They are not closing the patent office on technology today. Some of the brightest minds are still at Apple. I believe the innovation will continue. I think as far as the stock is concerned, I think this has been largely priced in, as evidenced by what the stock is doing today. And the growth rate, I think, is going to continue to impress investors for the next couple of years.