Corporate Eye

Do Tech Companies Give Good IR Web? (part 2)

After subjecting Microsoft to my critical and highly subjective review of how tech companies get investors to their investor relations pages, I thought it would be fair to look at how Apple does it.  After all, Apple is a company that is known for its design flair and ease of use.  My expectations were high.    

When I visited Apple’s home page, I searched high and low for something that typically would lead me to the investor relations page, either a link or tab that was labeled “About Us” or “Our Company” or even “Investor Relations”.  I found nothing – nada – zilch – that looked like where I wanted to go.  Finally, down at the bottom of the page, in tiny print I found “Media Info”.  Clicking on that lead me to a page of press info with a small box labeled “Media Resources” where Investor Information is number four in the list.  Clicking on that got me where I wanted to go.  

 Needless to say, my expectations about Apple were not met.  This was a disappointment for me as I am a fan of Apple’s products – this post is being written on a Mac and between my kids and I we have more ipods in my house than I care to think about.  So how do I score them on my completely arbitrary scoring system?  I give them a 7.  While it only took two clicks to get where I wanted to go, the treasure hunt factor was way too high for a company of Apple’s stature.  Further, Investor relations is not a media category, and the printing for the links was tiny.  


Further investigation of the web page revealed two other ways to get to the investor relations page.  The first was to navigate to the site map and find the “Investors” page.  Personally, I try to avoid site maps whenever possible as they usually involve extended hunting for what you want.  This wasn’t my first choice and I don’t give Apple much credit for it.  The second method was more innovative.  At the top of Apple’s home page there is a small search box, similar to the search box that is built into their current operating system.  By the time you type in the first three letters of investor relations, the link for the appropriate page pops up.  This is cool, if only you know to do it.  it may be the wave of the future, but most of us are conditioned to use links and tabs at this point.

So what does all of this tell investors about Apple?  First, if you never found Apple investor information it would be OK with them.  By placing investor relations as a subset of media, it also tells you that Apple wants and expects to control the message to investors, something they can do with the media.  Alas, this almost never works, although it doesn’t keep companies from trying.

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John Palizza

John recently retired as a Lecturer in Management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Management, where he taught investor relations. Prior to that, John was in charge of investor relations for Sysco Corporation and Walgreen Co. He holds a MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a law degree from Loyola University of Chicago. You can learn more about John’s thinking about investor relations at his blog, Investor Relations Musings.