Google overtaking Apple would have driven Steve Jobs crazy: He was obsessed with Apple’s market value

“While watching Google’s market value surpass Apple’s in after-market trading last night—ending Apple’s on-and-off reign as the world’s most valuable company—I couldn’t help thinking about Steve Jobs, and how much this moment would have pained him,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes for Fortune.

“Market capitalization—calculated by multiplying share price by the number of shares outstanding—is just one measure of a company’s value, and one that often says more about short-term sentiment on Wall Street than a company’s long-term prospects,” P.E.D. reports. “But Steve Jobs was reportedly obsessed with his market cap.”

P.E.D. reports, “The story comes from Bruce Upbin, who runs Forbes Media’s 140-person technology team.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, if this is what it takes to kick some asses into gear at Apple and sharpen the focus, including shipping products with the finished quality that we expect and demand, this little demotion is very welcome indeed.

That said, we all know which company is really the most valuable on earth and it certainly isn’t Alphabet.

Apple vs. Alphabet revenue (2008-2015) (in billion U.S. dollars)
Revenue comparison of Apple and Google from 2008 to 2015 (in billion U.S. dollars)

Apple vs. Alphabet net income (2008-2015)

Apple vs. Alphabet net income (2008-2015)
Source: Wolfram Alpha

Go figure: Google’s ‘more valuable’ than Apple, but Apple’s iPhone takes 94% of smartphone industry’s profits – February 2, 2016
Apple’s iPhone can soon reap 100 percent of world’s smartphone profits – November 17, 2015
Apple’s iPhone owns 94% of smartphone industry’s profits – November 16, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015


  1. Apple with debt would have bothered him more I believe.
    No way would he have allowed that.He understood what having no debt meant to a company. 200 billion(cash) – 60 billion (debt) this cannot continue. Stop listening to theses investment bankers on how to make and keep money, they ran the world into a hole.

    1. EXACTLY!!! Almost no truer statement has been said on this site.

      Steve very strongly preferred a company with zero long term debt. (With a company even 10% of Apple’s size there is no such thing as zero short term [think 90 days or less] debt.)

      Steve was absolutely NOT obsessed with Apple’s Market Cap. Anyone who thinks that Steve was obsessed with Market Cap either never even met Steve or that person is a complete idiot.

      As far as Apple (and virtually every other entity Steve ran) Steve was obsessed with providing the best products possible. Period. End of story. Absolutely nothing came even close to an obsession with Steve.

      Down to the cellular level Steve believed that if you offer truly ground breaking products that change users’ lives for the better that was 99.9% of what you needed to do. Once you do that the rest just falls into place.

      Screw the banks and their wanting to give you cash (at a fee and interest rate beneficial to them). Screw Wall Street as they’re a bunch of manipulators only out to fill their own pockets. Screw governments (but play within the law!), and don’t kiss Senator Blowhard Foghorn’s ass just because he won’t play nice until you do.

      In the last two to three years Apple has significantly moved away from Steve’s obsession. Tim Cook is obsessed with building a “great company” along the lines of what the general business community thinks is a great company. Their thought is you bring in big name people with decent track records (whether its in your field or not) and get them to rule over company sections. Supposedly this will generate lots of cash flow and occasionally decent products that keep the company going.

      If you want to be IBM or HP then that’s fine. That’s the way they’ve been playing for some time. But since the Dark Days it has not been Apple’s way — until recently.

      Hell… just recently Dell — yes, DELL!!! — announced a new laptop that should be almost 100% of what the new retina MacBook Pro should be. It has a good high density screen. It has high end, mobile Skylake processor. It has Thunderbolt 3. It has USB-C connectors. It has a decent solid state drive. Don’t tell me that Apple could not have done the same thing — or better — if Apple were PRODUCT focused (like Steve was) versus COMPANY focused like Tim is. If Apple shipped a similar (or hopefully better) high end laptop this week, Apple would have people literally lining up to buy it and the back orders for such a laptop would be a month long.

      Tim has done a lot of things right, but changing the focus of the company from PRODUCTS to the company itself is a bad move, in the extreme.

  2. “But Steve Jobs was reportedly obsessed with his market cap.”

    Not sure about this. All I have ever read when people mention Steve and Wall Street, is that he ignored them and could care less what they thought.
    So this story is a bit suspect.

  3. BS. Steve Jobs was never obsessed with stock price or market cap. He was obsessed with changing the world by making great products that made technology more personal.

    He didn’t waste his time kissing Wall St.’s or his shareholders’ asses.

  4. The thing that would have troubled Jobs more would be his grievous miscalculation in selecting Tim Cook as his successor. Considering how things are not “just working” and real innovation (no, the watch is not) having been lost in the company’s past, Steve would consider this his most calamitous blunder.

      1. Where did all of the Apple nay-sayers come from in MDN forums lately? This is not the fun place it used to be.

        Facts: This to shall pass. Apple has been undervalued before (still), Apple is very good in the underdog position, Apple has always led the personal computing market in direction and innovation, (ever since they invented that market, by the way.) This will not change no matter valuation, market share, etc.

        Can we get past the doom and gloom and talk more interesting things? It is really getting old and boring. Apple’s doom has been preached from roof tops ever since 1996 for crying out loud! (and even a couple times before that) I know, I am old enough to have watched it all. From the birth of Apple to today.

        Please troll your gloom elsewhere! This site used to be positive, upbeat, and pointing out the errors of those who undervalue or underestimate Apple. That is the MDN that I want to visit.

        1. Yo, MDN. Can the loyal rank-and-file members vote to *banish* certain bloggers from the site? Please make it happen!

          That would be real democracy, like ancient Greece. Wish the US could vote to banish 1 person (or maybe a few…) from the country by popular vote every year.

        2. You complain too much. Rather than seeking to ban other people why don’t you develop a rational, intelligent, and cogent argument to counter their opinion? Do you think that you cannot develop a rational, intelligent, and cogent argumen?

          Is your only recourse to people who disagree with you is to silence them?

          Perhaps you are so troubled because you fear these other folks make be right and you are wrong. That is your personal problem.

          What if these other people are wrong? That doesn’t change reality.

  5. The markets are crazy! Even if Apple never grew again and google grew at 15% annually it would take them 9 years to reach the income level that Apple currently has.

    1. But that’s not what Wall Street gambling is about. They aren’t there to pick the biggest horse, they are there to pick the fastest horse.

      When investing, most of them don’t even care what the company is or does, they are just looking at what the next investment dollar will kick back in the next quarter. Brokers take their clients’ money and put it on whatever makes the biggest short term gain, doesn’t matter if the company makes money by printing bibles or clubbing baby seals. Then they take a fee whether their clients win or lose.

      For 2015, Google’s ad revenue increased 18%, Apple revenue increased only 1%. And yes, it is happening under Cook’s watch.

      1. It’s all about the Benjamins and nothing else matters to Wall Street investors. Tim Cook didn’t like that concept and he had his say. Now Apple is on Wall Street’s black list for the next decade. The Apple Dust Bowl in full effect. I believe Tim Cook was right in speaking out, but I guess I didn’t see the backlash coming.

  6. ‘Though the outside world looks at success from a numerical point of view, my yardstick might be quite different than that, I want to put a ding in the universe. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.’

    ‘Steve Jobs Bio: The Unauthorized Autobiography.’

    iBooks Store:

  7. Sounds like another analyst is rewriting history.

    I have never heard that Steve Jobs was obsessed with market cap before now.

    I have heard many times that he was obsessed with making great products. That has nothing to do with market cap.

    1. What matters is outside of your scope, thats ok with us, but stay away as long as you cannot ad something useful.

      Your disappointment in life does not much with our disappointment in how Apples latest CEO takes care of Steves Legacy.

      Cook is the downfall of , for years now. How long is the board going to watch the quality issue called Tim Cook?

      Supply Chain is a good thing as long as it does not corrupt everything Apple stands for.

      Once Appe produced in th States and lost the cost battle.

      Now they use Foxconn and save a lot of money, but the quality is corrupted because the greed of Wall Street stands in the way of the quality guys.

      As long as Wall Street and Tim Cook are influencing Apple, the quality turnaround at Apple is just an illusion.

      Cut the crap now, fire the “Trump of all CEO’s” and forget about his gayness.
      He better should take care of this topic full time.
      But it is not relevant to Apple and Apple users.

  8. As the others point out here this article is totally bogus: Jobs was never, ever “obsessed” with market cap, quite the opposite, he hated Wall Street. Jobs knew that Wall Street has little to do with a company’s actual strategic value, it’s more a psychological game of Las Vegas-like poker.

  9. I have my reservations about Cook, but he’s done well enough. He’s managed Apple into being a consistent moneymaker bigger than when Jobs passed. However he doesn’t strike me as a passion-filled ass-kicker. I don’t expect dramatic changes at Apple anytime soon.

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