How, and why, Apple overtook Microsoft and left it in the dust

“When Microsoft stock was at a record high in 1999, and its market capitalization was nearly $620 billion, the notion that Apple Computer would ever be bigger — let alone twice as big — was laughable,” James B. Stewart writes for The New York Times. “This week, both Microsoft and Apple unveiled their latest earnings, and the once unthinkable became reality: Apple’s market capitalization hit $683 billion, more than double Microsoft’s current value of $338 billion.”

“Apple earned $18 billion in the quarter — more than any company ever in a single quarter — on revenue of $75 billion. Its free cash flow of $30 billion in one quarter was more than double what IBM, another once-dominant tech company, generates in a full year, noted a senior Bernstein analyst, Toni Sacconaghi,” Stewart writes. “Microsoft’s revenue was barely one-third of Apple’s, and operating income of $7.8 billion was less than a quarter of Apple’s. Microsoft shares dropped over 9 percent as investors worried about its aging personal computer software market.”

“Robert X. Cringely, the pen name of the technology journalist Mark Stephens, told me this week that when he interviewed Microsoft’s co-founder, Bill Gates, in 1998 for Vanity Fair, Mr. Gates ‘couldn’t imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft.’ ‘He knows he can’t win,’ Mr. Gates said then of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs,” Stewart writes. “But less than two decades later, Apple has won… ‘Apple has been very visionary in creating and expanding significant new consumer electronics categories,’ Mr. Sacconaghi said. ‘Unique, disruptive innovation is really hard to do. Doing it multiple times, as Apple has, is extremely difficult. It’s the equivalent of Pixar producing one hit after another. You have to give kudos to Apple.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: While there’s no way to wish harder that Steve were here to see it, he, of all people, visionary that he was, knew what was coming. But, boy are we glad Gates is alive to witness his cheating, thieving, tasteless outfit’s comeuppance. Delicious!

Now, there’s lots of hand-wringing in the full article about what Apple could ever do next. These people have no idea of the colossal paradigm shift that Apple Watch is going to create.

With iPhone, Apple changed the fabric of our everyday lives: All around the world today, you see people constantly pulling phones from pockets and staring at them. With Apple Watch, Apple will change behavior worldwide once again. A quick glance at your Watch and you’re off. No more smartphone zombies. Watch and see.

Related articles:
Apple now worth double Microsoft’s market value – January 29, 2015
Apple Inc. posts biggest quarterly earnings of any company ever – January 27, 2015
Apple destroys Street with all-time record earnings – January 27, 2015


  1. I think it is a game of two halves. the first half was when Bill Gates and Microsoft played better and Apple has to change the game a lot to catch up and beat MS. They are set for the Next 5-10 years after which it is all up the players who will be still playing. MS is trying to claw its ways up, and Apple is getting complacent as they know they are ahead of the pack and no one can touch them for the forseeable future. Interesting times we will have to wait and see. Nokia has the biggest IP in mobile hopefully after 2016 they can throw a surprise, i.e. if they are working on something right now.

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