Is this the end of the Age of Apple?

If anything, MedMen, on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, California, looks just like an Apple store. It's decked out with blond wood tables on which a range of products are artfully displayed - the Puffco Peak portable vapouriser, an electronic Dosist vape pen, the latest issue of Ember magazine and, of course, so much weed, or marijuana, delivered in an astonishing variety of ways, from tinctures to gummy bears to cookies to just plain joints.

A crowd of customers is attended to by cheerful employees decked out in jaunty red hoodies and carrying iPads. "Let's be buds" urges a sign on one table. It certainly looks like it's going great at this chain of weed dispensaries. But - like a lot of businesses around the newly commercialised marijuana industry in California - MedMen is struggling. The latest quarter showed a net loss of US$66 million (S$90 million) on revenues of US$21.5 million. It had lost US$79 million the previous quarter. Not enough weed supply and too much expansion are among the reasons given for MedMen's problems, but the disconnect between the company's promise and reality made me think hard about some other terrible news this week: Apple's announcement that it was going to miss its projected revenue by billions of dollars this quarter.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2019, with the headline 'Is this the end of the Age of Apple?'. Print Edition | Subscribe