EE204: Business Management for
Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists

Measuring Performance with Public Information


  1. Read:/Review as needed to analyze Apple (AAPL)
    1. Apple investor relations*
    2. Yahoo! Finance page
    3. Bing Finance page
  2. Read:/Review as needed to analyze Google (GOOG)
    1. Google investor relations*
    2. Yahoo! Finance page
    3. Bing Finance page

    * - review links to Stock Info, Earnings Releases, SEC Filings, 10-K, 10-Q, etc.


Illustrates the use of publicly available information to analyze and compare company strategy and performance. The goal here is to dig into and understand the relative performance of these two key companies, Apple and Google.

Apple and Google filings contain background financial data on Apple and Google from their 10K filing for the fiscal year end 2011. This public information provides a detailed raw look at the financial results of a company and its products using generally accepted Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) standards.

Google's fiscal year end is December 31. The annual financial results are reported to investors and the government in a 10-K document summarizing the entire year, as well as 10-Q documents for every other quarter throughout the year

Apple's fiscal year end is September 30. However, Apple filed its 10-Q form for the quarterly period ending December 31, 2011. Therefore, for comparison between Apple and Google, the analysis will be based on the quarter ending December 31st for both companies. For Apple this is a 10-Q document and for Google this is a 10-K document.

Discussion Questions

  1. What types of information do the following items provide?
    1. Proxy statement
    2. Annual report
    3. 10-K
    4. 10-Q
  2. Using data from the sources listed above, and other public documents or websites if necessary, analyze and compare the performance of the two companies along the following metrics:
    1. Risk Factors (10-K). How significant are the risks? Are these statements really describing the real risks the companies are facing?
    2. Financial Performance (Yahoo! Finance, Bing Finance). Consider performance metrics like revenue growth, income, balance sheet strength, R&D spending, and stock price.
    3. Company Mission Statements ("Business" section of 10-K). Do these mission statements articulate what business each company is actually in? Which company's mission statement is more compelling, and why?
    4. Success. How successful have Apple and Google been from the perspectives of employees, shareholders, and customers?
    5. Investment Potential. As an investor, which company would you recommend for investment, and why?

SCPD Students

See the SCPD Resource Page for general information on assignment submission, team building, expectations, and getting help. See the SCPD Grading Page for evaluation procedures for daily written assignments.

Written work should be submitted using SCPD Homework Processing procedures.

All times listed below are PDT (California time).

  1. Review publicly available information including the links above and submit answers to the Discussion Questions in Writeup 1 (1 page) by 9am Tuesday 5/29/2012.
  2. The videotaped class meeting should be available via SCPD by 2pm, Tuesday 5/29/2012.
  3. Watch the video of the class meeting and meet with your team to discuss.
  4. Submit Writeup 2 (1-2 pages) by 9pm Sunday 6/3/2012. This writeup should include the following:
    • A summary of the main points of the class discussion
    • Any points from the discussion that you found particularly enlightening or disagreed with
    • A discussion of how your initial responses did or did not align with the direction of the class discussion
    • Final comments on performance: Which company would you rather invest in, and why?