The Wired 40: Apple Computer ‘the new face of consumer electronics’ rockets from nowhere to number 3

Wired Magazine’s “Wired 40” is about “masters of innovation, technology, and strategic vision – 40 companies driving the global economy,” according to Wired’s Kevin Kelleher. “Old school business types found some solace in the bust – at least the upstarts go their comeuppance. Hardly! With the economy finally perking up, newcomers are running the show: Three of the top five companies in this year’s Wired 40, our annual list of enterprises leading the charge toward a connected global economy, were founded in the past decade. One-third are less than 20 years old,” Kelleher writes for Wired’s June 2004 issue (not yet online).

“This year’s list reflects the churn we’ve come to expect int he tech economy. Only nine selections appeared on the original list back in 1998. Still, the criteria for inclusion remains unchanged. These 40 leaders have demonstrated an uncommon mastery of technology, innovation, globalism, networked communication, and strategic vision – skills essential to thriving in the information age,” Kelleher writes.

After Google at number one (right where they were last year) and Amazon at number two (up from 7th last year), Wired debuts a new company to the Wired 40, Apple Computer, at number three:

“Apple Computer: the new face of consumer electronics. They laughed in 2001 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, Apple’s $400 MP3 player. They laughed in 2003 when he opened the iTunes Music Store, selling songs for 99 cents when million of consumers were downloading tracks for free. But Jobs is having the last laugh, while creating the kind of platform-and-content synergy that gadget makers dream of. Having sold 5 million iPods, Apple owns 55 percent of the music player market. Meanwhile, iTunes has coaxed the Big Five record labels into a single online store and persuaded fans to download – legally – more than 60 million songs, about 70 percent of commercial downloads. And beyond consumers fo digital media, Apple is empowering a new generation of content creators with superior music production (GarageBand) and video editing (iMovie). Put them on the blazing Power Mac G5 and you have the platform of the creative class. DONE: The iPod mini, released in february, is already taking market share from makers of smaller, cheaper music players. TO DO: With iTunes for Windows and the HP-branded iPod, Apple is finally playing well with others. If only it would find more playmates.”

MacDailyNews Note: As of May 5th, Apple had sold 73.3 million songs (source).

Another new company on the list, at number nine, is Steve Jobs’ other company, Pixar. The next PC maker, after Apple, to make the list is Dell, which Wired terms “The Great Commoditizer,” at number 12. IBM’s at 13, Intel at 24, Microsoft at 27. Ejected from last year’s list were Sony, Wal-Mart, and Oracle, among others.


  1. The article doesn’t just mention the strength of the iPod and iTMS as being the sole factor in the decision, Joe – they include the G5 and the software that ties it all together, too. While the focus is the iPod right now, Apple still relies on their other hardware offerings to complete the picture, as it were.

    And isn’t Dell more of a computer assembler than maker?

  2. Joe,

    Moribund…what is moribund about Apple’s computer business?
    iPod is a new product so it gets extra push. iPod would be nothing without iTunes, and iTunes is part of a greater enterprise. Over the next year Apple will launch upgraded G5s and other computers to take advantage of their profile and the need to replace PCs.

    A few good iPod quarters do not make the computer business weak.

  3. I never thought I’d say this;

    I can’t wait to read Thurrott’s reaction ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    “Apple are clearly falling behind. I mean, WMA is far superior blah blah blah blah blah blah… When will anyone listen to me blah blah blah blah…”

  4. bob, if they do “launch upgraded G5s and other computers”, especially the “other” part, then they aren’t moribund. Until they do they are. You have faith, I am starting to wonder.

    buried, they do mention computers, in the midst of the 90% of the article that is about itunes and ipod. Let’s put it this way: in my OPINION apple wouldn’t be on this list without the ipod.

  5. why sailfish? I think I am accurate about the wired rating being dependent on ipod, and I posted the link to show that apple’s mac sales are lagging, to reinforce my “moribund” point. (used that word up for the year I think.)

    You know I know how to troll. I ain’t……..yet.

  6. Guys: Joe is cool. At least he’s the coolest (and smartest) non-Mac-user on these posts. He just needs a little something extra from Apple to convince him to buy a Mac to go with his Windows systems. That “little something extra” may well be announced in June.

    Joe: Keep looking at Apple – you’re going to benefit from their unique innovation someday soon (when you get your Mac ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />). I, for one, welcome your posts here.

  7. When reading from Joe, everyone remember that a cynic/pessimist is just a disillusioned idealist. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  8. Joe: why? because.

    The iPod is certainly a factor but if Apple was instead *just* Pear: the maker of iPod and nothing else it would have not made #3. The iPod is as well an exceptional success as an eye-opener to everything Apple.

    Concerning mac sales lagging: you know what I think. Having an increase of 5% overall and over 30% increase in portables is not the results of a moribond computer maker. The fact that global market shares shrinks is due not to Apple selling less but to lowering the threshold access to computers: today you access computing with less than $400, hence lots of new computer owners.

    Last, IBM has recently given good news on the yields of their G5 production lines. It is not a matter of faith having upgrades in the G5 offering, it is a matter of when in 2004.

    Lastly, I know you know how to troll, that’s why I said “kind of trollish” ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  9. And Apple just keeps laughing all the way to the bank. As long as they’re making consistent profits quarter after quarter off both iPods *and* Macs do you think they care if someone thinks their computer sales are moribund?


    “World PC sales will grow 13.6 per cent this year as enterprises and individuals replace old kit with shiny new models, market watcher IDC reported this week.

    Replacements will account for more than half of new PC sales this year, if Gartner’s figures prove accurate. It expects some 186.4m machines to ship this year – almost 100m of them will be replacements, a figure that will rise to 120m in 2005.

    Of course, that still leaves over 86m PCs going into offices and homes that don’t already have one, so the world market at least still has plenty to space to build new business before it ends up solely servicing old customers.”

    It does not take a Ph.D. to figure that with a base of some 15m customers and 5% increase of sales Apple global % of market share will shrink with an influx of an estimated 86m new computer owners.

    All analysts burps around global market share and soon vanishing Apple (or moribond) is silly speculations.

  11. Mac sales will never be where they should be, based on their innovation and quality advantage. But, isn’t it nice for those of us who expect more, that there is a clear choice.

    I could use a Windows machine if I wanted to. I could also drive on the freeway backwards. Glad I don’t have to.

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