Why Apple is the most successful company in world history

“Everyone knows that Apple had a great fourth quarter and that its most successful product line, the iPhone, is doing better than ever, too,” Mike Elgan reports for Computerworld.

“But it’s difficult to grasp what a mind-blowingly successful company Apple is until you take the time to gather and digest news about the company that has emerged in the past week or two,” Elgan reports. “I’ve done it. And it has become obvious to me that Apple is not only successful, not only the most successful company in technology, not only the most successful company in the world but the most successful company in the history of companies.”

Read more in the full article here.

16 Comments

      1. Zune Tang posted satirical, over the top material on this forum. Thinking Zune Tang was serious about his criticisms of Apple is like thinking that Stephen Colbert is truly an ultra-conservative. Both of them make fun of their opponents by taking their opponents’ positions to their absurd extremes.

  1. Some of those 11 reasons are good ones, and some are somewhat trivial on the “big picture.”

    #2 is true, but cracks me up. Whoever thinks Microsoft is the second most valuable brand is a fool. “Microsoft” is marketing poison. It is certainly well-known as a brand, but NOT “valuable.” If fact, it provides negative value, because it tends to repel more customers than it attracts. The “Google” brand is starting to have the same effect.

    #3 and #4 are really the same thing. But it’s true. Apple make more money than any other company, ever.

    #6 is not really directly relevant. A shiny new HQ building is not what makes Apple great.

    #7 through #9 are an important accomplishments, but also not at the level of reasons Apple is the “most successful company in world history.”

    #10 will become more important over time. Apple Watch is just the first wearable device that makes iPhone (and its successor down the road) the “hub” of Apple’s wearable computing ecosystem.

    #11 (Apple Pay) is a value-added service for iPhone customers. It will grow, but like the iTunes Store (another value-added service for Apple’s hardware customers), it will not surpass the importance of the primary hardware products Apple is selling now and in the future.

    The KEY reason is not even mentioned. STRATEGY. Apple enters new markets in an innovative way that drives success and diminishes the competition. (Apple is so intent on this strategy that when it entered a new market that it did NOT intend to quickly conquer, its CEO called it a “hobby”). Apple uses an existing success as the foundation for the next success, and makes replication by the competition difficult. For example, iPod’s success could not be replicated because no one else had iTunes. iPod and iTunes launched iPhone, and then the iPhone’s “ecosystem” made iPad (and will make Apple Watch) successful and difficult to replicate. Apple’s competition see something that is successful, and “innovate” by copying. Apple does the opposite. That’s great strategy, and ultimately the main reason why Apple is “the most successful company in world history.”

    1. Great post! I would like to append a few additional factors – vision, discipline, focus, and planning. Apple encourages the vision and creativity that leads to insanely great products. Apple has the discipline and focus to concentrate resources on a few great products while relegating many good ideas to the shelf for more seasoning. As a supplement to your strategy comment, Aaple develops, maintains, and evolves long term, cohesive plans that lead to great things.

      1. spot on, kingmei & ken1w. it may be obvious to some but not all, so i’ll add great sustained leadership and great employees. there is a synergistic relationship between all of these attributes and power of the synergism is what is unparalleled and and approachable by competitors.

        apple has re-defined or furrowed over 5 industry markets. personal desktop computers, personal publishing, personal music adoration, mobile computing (iPhone/iwatch) & content consumption (iPad/iPhone). There is some roomful growth in the consumption market, but that will be the legroom for appleTV. apple’s brand encompasses all of these markets and is not challenges by any single competitor. at the end of the day, a consumer is not impressed my marketing hype. he/she just wants convenience and access. apple’s products deliver that. the cost/value of that is what pundits don’t comprehend when they chastise apple products’ cost. consumers have voted. a large part of apple’s headroom are those consumers who have the adoration, but not the $. they will be apple’s future customers.

        my personal satisfaction in all this is i was one of the “apple” cult when is was demeaning. first apple at work was an apple IIe, first mac at work was a personal macplus. hand-to-hand combat with corporate IT doofuses for 20 years. smile on my face from the pinnacle of Schadenfreude.

  2. What a great pile, of course that is to be expected from one who says “But it’s difficult to grasp what a mind-blowingly successful company Apple is until you take the time to gather and digest news about the company that has emerged in the past week or two. I’ve done it.”

    Gee Mike Elgan, that’s fantastic, sure to put you up for a nomination for a Pulitzer, Nobel Prize or an Academy Award. To think you only needed to digest news about the last two weeks of the company, I bet people from miles around can smell the result of such a digestion.

    The so called reasons Apple is the most successful company because it is the valuable in aspects like $ and brand, makes more $ than anyone else and so on is about as relevant as stating that water is a liquid at room temperature because it is wet.

    Certainly nice to extol the properties, but it does not address the mechanism, the process the “why” and how Apple got to this position, not by a long shot. Thank you for your contribution to modern day jouranalism, void of any valid or significant thought.

  3. While I’m as much an Apple fan as anyone, the title of the piece is factually wrong. The most valuable company of all time was the Dutch East India Company. At its peak, Dutch East India was worth $7Trillion in current dollars. Apple hasn’t even made $1Trillion. Check out the entry in Wikipedia.

    1. this is also from wikipedia:

      “in the 1640s, Zheng Zhilong held uncontested hegemony over the overseas Chinese trade. He had become one of the richest men in China, with his annual income estimated at three to four times that of the whole Dutch East India Company.[14]”

  4. Saying that Apple, or anything else, is “best ever” is like the kiss of death. It usually means that it is at the top of its game and that there is nowhere to go but down.

    I hope and believe that Apple will be making world-leading innovations for decades to come. But to say that it no longer follows the rules of rational valuation, or that it is invincible, is worrisome. Apple will continue to succeed because it has good leadership and it attracts good people who will continue to carefully practice their craft.

    Go Apple. Don’t get fat-headded about it. Just keep doing good work.

  5. … And yet the Apple Bear Bullshit, the Apple Death Knells, the Analcyst spews and hedge fund sell-offs continued this past week as ever. And so they shall, forever. Why? Because you can’t stop stupid.

    Thankfully, these dummies can’t stop Apple from being Apple, fair weather or foul.

    That’s another reason why I <3 .

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