Print 42 comment(s) - last by weskurtz0081.. on Aug 21 at 11:11 PM

Apple's market cap surpasses Microsoft in its 1990s hey-day

CNN Money carried an interesting story on Monday entitled "Apple is now the most valuable company of all time".  Similar headlines soon abounded.

Indeed Apple, Inc. (AAPL), despite a "bad" quarter which would be cause for celebration for just about anyone else, has soared in value over the last decade with the success of the iPod, then the iPhone, and most recently the iPad.  From 2000 to present, shares increased from a market cap of $8B USD to $623B USD.  For comparison's sake gold -- typically consider a massive commodities success story -- has only ballooned from $238 USD per oz. to $1640 USD per oz. at last count.

So when Apple's soaring stock set a market capitalization record of $623B USD (at $665.15 USD/share) -- more than the $618.9B USD Microsoft was worth (according to investors) in Dec. 30 at the height of so-called "dot com bubble".

But for all the streamers and confetti, the claim that Apple is the "most valuable of all time/in all of history" isn’t accurate.  Value is based on the worth of the currency at the time.

"Siri, who is the most valuable company in all of history?" Ding ding.. "In today's dollars Microsoft in 1999 would be." [Image Source: AP Photo]

In 2010 dollars, Microsoft's $618B USD valuation would be over $820B USD.  While inflation data is still being finalized for last year, it would likely be somewhere in the ballpark of $850B USD in today's money (The Columbia Journalism Review says $856B USD in today's money, although it admits to goofing by saying that International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) in 1967 was the most valuable, failing to realize that the data it was working off of was already adjusted).  

The headlines are particularly troubling, given that even a simple Wikipedia search would have revealed the truth (Wikipedia pegs Microsoft's peak value at $846B USD in today's money).

In other words, Apple still has to grow by another third in order to truly become the most valuable of all time.

Still, it is fair to lavish Apple with some praise.  The company was most profitable tech firm for 2011 and third in total profits.  For 2012 Apple is expected to be the most profitable American firm.

Those profits could soar even higher if Apple succeeds in its court bid to ban rival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) devices from the American market -- the world's most lucrative and second largest smartphone market.

But Apple has a long hard road ahead to become truly the biggest company in history.  For now, it is merely in a small crowd of historic elites.

Sources: CNN Money, CJR

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By melgross on 8/21/2012 12:20:18 PM , Rating: 2
Oil isn't priced like other products. It's prices are determined by political manipulation as much as any other.

Do you scream at Microsoft's overpriced products? They have a higher profit percentage than Apple does. Why should a software company that's losing billions a year in other areas still have a larger net profit without people like you complaining that their products cost twice as much as they could be sold at?

By tng on 8/21/2012 1:06:59 PM , Rating: 2
Oil isn't priced like other products.
No it is not priced like electronics at all. Oil is priced as a commodity, much like corn, orange juice, gold. The price rises and falls depending on demand, local issues with production, etc...

It's prices are determined by political manipulation as much as any other.
Well, somewhat, but the last refinery fire here in the SF Bay area of CA last week, can we blame that on Obama?:)

Apples products are overpriced, yet people are willing to pay it, so until people quit buying, the prices for the products will keep going up.

By Cheesew1z69 on 8/21/2012 2:26:12 PM , Rating: 4
The dummy is the idiot who pays 1600 for a 2 year old notebook....

By retrospooty on 8/21/2012 4:14:12 PM , Rating: 2
+1 LOL

By tng on 8/21/2012 2:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
no they are not overpriced- they are overpriced to YOU.
Oops, I forgot to say "In My Opinion".

Face it, I have seen people pay more than just $2K for a MacBook just to netsurf at Starbucks. I have home improvements that I would rather spend that money on and get more enjoyment out of.

I currently have a 5 year old Toshiba that is doing just fine and originally cost $700.00. Yes it is slower than the new stuff, but that really doesn't present any issues for me. I look at how much the computer will cost me when I replace it in a couple of years and that means it will be pretty cheap at about $100/year.

My next will probably work out to be cheaper per year. Compare that to a $2K MacBook at $285 per year and there you are. It is just all in the way you look at it I guess. I try to be a little bit "Green" in the way I look at these things, why buy a new one when there is nothing wrong with the old one?

By NellyFromMA on 8/21/2012 4:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
Apple targets a market that exists for whatever reason: families with more money to spend than they know what to do with or those who prefer sizzle over steak in general.

To quote a wise man: Can't knock the hussle.

By invidious on 8/21/2012 4:29:25 PM , Rating: 2
What are you even talking about? A comparable PC desktop would probably cost $500, And you could probably sell it for $200 pretty easily after two years. Even a PC laptop would probably only cost $1300 for someone who knows what they are doing.

But no one buys laptops with the intent of reselling them except for fooling Apple people. It's a self fullfilling profecy. People don't buy PCs because they are hip and trendy and new, they buy it to perform specific tasks. And they use it until it can't perform those tasks anymore.

Your resale argument is nothing more than a rationalization for the fact that you paid $600 extra to turn your laptop into a fassion accessory.

By StevoLincolnite on 8/21/2012 10:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
He would only get that price if it was in good condition.

Lets be honest, A Macbook looks alright when new, but after a years worth of abuse, the aluminum doesn't look too flash with all the scratches.

Personally, the Mac might look nice to some, but I personally find it a boring, bland and a dull enclosure.

Give me, LED's, Cathodes, Water Cooling loop, clear side window over a dull silver box any day.

By weskurtz0081 on 8/21/2012 2:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
What did the Obama remark have to do with the text you quoted?

By tng on 8/21/2012 6:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
What did the Obama remark have to do with the text you quoted?
Yeah, that. Well to put it plain and simple, he said that oil prices were mainly fixed by political manipulation, so I thought I would blame the recent refinery fire here in the Nor Cal area on the top politician, Obama.

If that doesn't make it more clear, then I can't help ya.

Within 2 days of the fire at the Chevron refinery here, prices went up about 30 cents.

By weskurtz0081 on 8/21/2012 11:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
I guess you were trying to make a joke. The "political manipulation" that drives oil prices higher generally occur in OPEC nations... that's most likely what he was referring to.

By NellyFromMA on 8/21/2012 4:16:43 PM , Rating: 2
In what sense does MS have a greater profit percentage?

Apple's profits almost exclusively come from supply chain domination (see term monopsony). This means primarily profits are driven from hardware with a decent enough share thereafter coming from their online sales (books music apps etc).

Microsoft has thusfar done none of that (we shall see something new with Surface however). So, I'm seeking the apples to apples (no pun intended) comparison you are trying to draw but am coming up empty at the moment.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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