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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
"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 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.


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer














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