When the exchange closed Wednesday, Apple became
the world's biggest technology
company, surpassing Microsoft's market capitalization. For those who have observed Apple's rise,
it is an impressive milestone. In the late '90s, the company was
practically on life support. Now, with a slick line of computers and
innovative consumer electronics, Apple's dominance seems more assured
than ever. However, a company's market value can be misleading. Here are
five caveats to Wednesday's screaming headline:
- Don't Look at Apple, Look at Microsoft, writes Chris Rawson at Tuaw: "Apple's
leapfrogging of Microsoft's market cap has had less to do with Apple's
stock and more to do with Microsoft's; over the past 60 days or so,
Apple's market cap has grown by less than US$10 billion, while
Microsoft's has plummeted by almost $40 billion."
Comparing Apple(s) and Oranges, writes Dan Nosowitz at Fast Company: "This
isn't Pepsi overcoming Coke. Is it simple scope defeating broad?
Consumer over enterprise? A triumph of superior marketing? The power of a
cult of personality? The answer is yes. Since the introduction of the
iPod, Apple has captured mindshare in ways Microsoft only dreams of.
Microsoft is an amorphous blob of a corporation, with a capital C--they
make essential products, certainly, but without brand loyalty or public
goodwill. Apple, through unbelievably astute marketing and the power of
one Steve Jobs, has won all of those fights."
- Take This With a
Grain of Salt, writes Daniel Kusnetzky at ZDNet:
"There are many ways to look at markets and individual companies. Each
is useful to certain people at certain times and not very useful at all
at other times. It’s wise to remember that market share of a market’s
revenue is quite different than the market share of a market’s
shipments. It’s also wise to remember that market capitalization or
market value is related to, but different than market share... A company
may have absolutely huge revenues, hold a dominant position in nearly
every market in which it competes and still not be properly recognized
- Here's 'One Ironic Point,' says Ed Oswald at Technologizer. "Microsoft
itself could be credited with helping bring back Apple from the dead. In
1997, the company made a $150 million investment in the company shortly
after Steve Jobs returned for his second and current stint as CEO."
at What Cost? worries Nigel Kendall at the Times of
London: "As a Mac user since the days of OS 7 myself, I find myself
caught slightly in between two stools by the company's sudden
omnipotence. Part of me is happy that the company has finally broken out
of its niche to get the acclaim it deserves for its great work - not so
much on products, but on interface and usability - part of me is
concerned that the corporate re-invention from computer maker to
consumer electronics company has taken place at the expense of the
computer hardware. I'm currently in the market for a new lightweight
laptop that doesn't cost the Earth and is likely to have a tough old
life on the road. For the first time in over a decade, I find myself
considering options other than Apple. I wonder if other people feel the
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