has at least brief briefly become the world's largest tech company in
terms of market cap. That spot has been held for over a decade
by Microsoft, makers of the Windows operating system.In
trading Monday, Apple Inc.'s shares slipped $1.11 to close at
$244.11, making its market cap about $222 billion. Microsoft's
shares dipped even more, falling to $1.06, or 4.1 percent, to close
at $25.01, for market cap of about $219 billion. Market cap is
the dollar value of a company's outstanding shares, and is commonly
used to compare companies in terms of size.While yesterday's
figures may not indicate that Apple has truly passed Microsoft to
become the world's largest tech firm, they do indicate that it is on
the verge of doing so. And that revelation alone is somewhat
amazing, considering the veteran brand was on the verge of bankruptcy
when Steven P. Jobs returned to the company in 1997 to serve as
CEO.Apple has long thrived on a rebel-outsider image, but
when it comes to business it has long shown itself to be as cold and
calculating as Microsoft, if not a bit more ruthless. Under
Jobs guidance, Apple released several tremendously successful
flagship products -- the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, the iTunes
App Store, the
iPhone, and the
iPad. All of these products, with the exception of the
iPhone, have gained a dominant position in the market.Many
companies could never dream of having a monopoly in one market, let
alone four, but that is what Apple has achieved through a mix of
brilliance and ruthlessness. Make no mistake,
Apple is not the tech world outsider; rather it's an elitist
of the highest order. A major part of Apple's climb
has been its large profit margins. While Microsoft makes a
small profit on each copy of Windows sold, Apple often pockets
from $50 to $500 (at least) per iDevice sold. No tech
company has been able to convince customers to swallow massive profit
margins quite like Apple.A major reason why Apple has been
able to do so boils down to two factors. The first is
psychological -- brand
image. Even as the elderly Apple was beginning to
become one of the world's most powerful companies, it portrayed
itself as the cool young rebel firm in ads such as the "Get
a Mac" series that ran from 2006 to 2009. In
doing so, it won over a lot of young customers who are less concerned
with price than getting what is considered the "cool"
product at any given time.A second key factor is packaging.
While Apple products have held no key advantage over competitors, and
often lack features their competitors had (for example, iPods long
had no FM tuner -- until very recently), they had unparalleled
packaging. The ability to pack hardware into a slick slender
package has led to overheating
issues at times, but it was undeniably one of the two
factors that made Apple's sales even
hotter.Apple will likely reign at the top for some time
thank to its dominant position in several markets. However,
threats to its empire loom. Android
is beating up on the iPhone in U.S. market share and
recently passed it in sales. Apple's decision to stick
with just one U.S. carrier and one phone model threatens to
cause it to fall quickly into Google's rear view mirror, much as PC
sales left Macs behind in the 90s.And its growing size has
prompted increased scrutiny from antitrust regulators in the EU and
U.S. While Apple has yet to be formerly investigated for any
wrongdoing, there are at least four
antitrust inquiries into Apple in the U.S. (inquiries are
the precursor to a full-fledged investigation).Also, there's
the problem of Apple's thirst for control. Apple has long
insisted that it knows what its customers want better
than they do. Apple's recent decisions with the iPhone and
iPad -- such as banning
Flash -- have upset both developers and consumers
alike.Finally, there's the problem of Apple's polarizing, yet
brilliant CEO Steve Jobs. Some analysts believe that Apple will
survive and thrive after Jobs, but that's much more questionable than
say in the case of Microsoft and Bill Gates. Perhaps no company
in modern history has been more driven by one man than Apple. Jobs'
focus and demand for absolute obedience borders on tyranny
and has driven many engineers away; yet at the same time, it has
allowed his company to launch products like the iPad that critics
said would never happen.Without Jobs, Apple seems unlikely to
be able to grow its business the same way. And without truly
new products Apple will still remain powerful -- but it won't expand
as fast. For now Apple can enjoy the news of its
achievement, though. Its future may be uncertain, but in the
present it's making a whole lot of money.
quote: Apple, Inc.Revenue - $42.91 billionOperating income - $11.74 billionTotal assets - $47.50 billionTotal equity - $31.64 billionMicrosoftRevenue - $58.437 billionOperating income - $20.363 billionTotal assets - $77.888 billionTotal equity - $39.558 billion
quote: That said, for better or worse, Microsoft and Apple are undeniably the top two tech companies in the world in terms of money, investment dollars, and power.
quote: He's not trying to make the most money
quote: Seriously, go fly a kite...
quote: And I certainly agree that Apple stock is somewhat overvalued at this point (one reason why I don't own any).
quote: The iPad sold at twice the rate of the iPhone in its first weeks. Analysts are currently predict total first year sales of 8 million. These are not xBox style, loss leader sales. Apple's margins are up: 40.9 percent from 37.9 percent a year ago.
quote: More than 70 per cent of customers who were thinking about buying an iPad opted for a netbook or a notebook instead.
quote: To say the iPhone was on a level playing field in the smartphone market upon release is just plain incorrect. They were leaps and bounds ahead of their competitors, so its no wonder they have been so successful.
quote: Limiting yourself to a single phone is not all that good of a market decision. Hence why Android phones are selling quite a lot and will surpass the iPhone in no time.
quote: Also, said Newell, "what's sort of surprising is how much more stable our games are on the Mac." Looking at the early data available from the Steam client, "the Mac is five times more stable than Windows" when using the metric of minutes played versus number of crashes.
quote: as of right now, microsoft just passed apple back again anyway so jason mick you can stfu
quote: Your thoughts on the superiority of a closed device ecosystem are certainly not facts
quote: He's very consistent in knowing exactly what to say to upset people.
quote: Whether Apple is first, second, third, or fourth in terms of the true "biggest" tech company is open to debate
quote: I have to agree with you here, reader1. Don't pay attention to all the -1 ratings from your haters, prophets should not care about their rating.
quote: learn to spell clown :))) profits my ass :)))) hehee
quote: you have a shi1tload of non-Microsoft OS's around
quote: You're both idiots
quote: Except that the pain of using them IS NOTHING LIKE using non-Apple mp3 players
quote: yeah fuck you too
quote: if you think it's as easy to download and run any piece of software you want for your average linux distro as to download any kind of music for your mp3 player then we have nothing to discuss further
quote: then also think about configuring/installing your linux distro versus configuring/installing win7. might help.
quote: The subject was consumer choice, not ease of use
quote: To configure - System > select what you want to configure > perform your configurations > done
quote: Sure. Choose between easy to use Windows or very much _not_ easy to use Linux (from the point of view of an average Joe)
quote: Not very likely in case of Linux. Very likely in case of Windows though. See difference?
quote: It's very easy to use depending on the distro
quote: Then you'll see that there's not really any difference.
quote: Doesn't solve the problem of missing software on Linux side.
quote: What if Linux driver for my piece of hardware does not exist? You know those modern GPUs especially from AMD whose Linux driver support is laughable? Don't pretend Windows and Linux are even remotely equal here.
quote: You can get better quality music but you can't get better quality software because it doesn't exist.
quote: 1000000 of Linux distros, usually the process ends right there :)
quote: Windows was easy to use
quote: How come OSX isn't on that list?
quote: What's the difference between crap before 10.5, and 10.5 itself?
quote: there are no viable alternatives to Windows. They claim that OSX is superior, yet Microsoft have a monopoly. That alone is a contradiction
quote: You can blame your precious Apple for Microsoft's so-called "monopoly"
quote: they abuse their position with 5% market share
quote: Take this example, Banana Republic has a larger market cap than Old Navy; however Old Navy has a higher percentage of people actually wearing the clothes.
quote: Even so, I think you understand his analogy
quote: receiving huge profits makes you a market leader?
quote: Well, huge profits are nice if they pay out dividends, but Apple has never done that.
quote: As it's been pointed out already, if you didn't get in on Apple when it was cheap then there isn't much of a reason to get in now.
quote: If Apple's customers were all stupid or "sheep", they would be buying products from other companies just as often.
quote: A major reason why Apple has been able to do so boils down to two factors. The first is psychological -- brand image.
quote: A second key factor is packaging.
quote: Watching my friends and family being disempowered and dispirited by the awful experience of using Windows PCs over the last decade
quote: Microsoft, having won the browser wars, just sat back and did nothing with its dominance
quote: P.S. this is for you: http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=18535...
quote: Microsoft didn't stifle web browsers