Apple has revolutionized so many businesses that it is difficult to keep track

“Thomas Kuhn, the American physicist and philosopher, is perhaps best known to the public for the phrase ”paradigm shift.’ In his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, he describes the differences between ordinary scientific problem solving — what he termed ‘normal science’ — and scientific revolutions,” Barry Ritholtz writes for Bloomberg View. “His concept of nonlinear evolution became so widely adopted by popular culture and business that today the phrase he coined has become a cliche.”

“That is a shame because, despite its well-worn status, it is still a very useful construct. Every so often, a business totally upends its industry and the phrase is wholly applicable,” Ritholtz writes. “Beyond mere iterations or gradual progress, these companies completely change how they and their competitors do business, from what they sell, to how they generate a profit.”

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
Apple: The world’s most valuable company — and my bet for first with a trillion-dollar market capitalization — has revolutionized so many businesses that it is difficult to keep track,” Ritholtz writes. “Co-founder Steve Jobs remade entire industries — creating the first successful digital music store; turning mobile phones into portable computers; and most recently smart watches, which seem to be devastating Swiss watch manufacturers. In a challenging era for retail stores, Apple stores have higher revenue per square foot than just about anyone else. The list of companies damaged by Apple is astonishing. The only other company close to Apple in terms of this disruptive paradigm-shifting destruction is…”

Amazon: Delighting customers? Free delivery? Cloud computing? Rethinking retail? Logistical efficiencies? None of these are paradigm-shifting,” Ritholtz writes. “What really makes Amazon unique is its virtually unlimited access to capital at almost no cost.”

Read more, including Alphabet (Google), Uber, Tesla, and more, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When it comes to revolutionizing industries, Apple is unmatched.

Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. — Steve Jobs

Also, we heartily recommend reading Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

21 Comments

    1. Come to think of it, in 1979, long before the Mac, VisiCalc spreadsheets first appeared on Apple II computers and were a major reason for it’s popularity. Before VisiCalc, spreadsheets were unknown.

      That success could be regarded as a major reason why Apple was able to afford to develop the Mac, which in turn led to the iPod, iPhone etc.

  1. Amazon is winning by a huge margin. One quick glance at Amazon’s P/E tells the whole story. Apple is valued like a steel mill going out of business while Amazon is being valued as a potential $2T market cap company. Amazon investors were dancing in the street when they heard the announcement of Toys R Us store closings which will be the first of many companies Amazon will destroy. Maybe Amazon can give those 33,000 ex-employees new jobs.

    I honestly don’t ever remember Apple being touted as a rival destroyer the way Amazon is. Amazon investors are practically drooling each time Amazon announces it’s going to enter another market.

    1. Amazon is a delivery service with thin margins at best, just because wall street chases high p/e doesn’t make the company worth the price, except for speculators.

      1. It’s quite possible that Wall St. speculators are mostly bying and selling to themselves, thereby producing no real wealth that is useful to the commons or to “Main St.” If so, this accounts for the economic bubble, it being inflated by that non-productive speculation. Someone tell me what that implies for America’s future.

      2. @get it right:

        You are wrong. Amazon is the leading cloud computing purveyor with fat margins and Apple as one of many loyal customers. All the other stuff Amazon does is for Bezos’ enjoyment.

        You ought to read real financial statements instead of relying on Apple biased press as your only source.

    2. You have a lot to learn about business and the stock market, rottenbittenfruit. A high P/E means that investors are betting/speculating that a company will rapidly grow and increase its profits substantially (or begin generating profits, first!). P/E should roughly reflect future prospects for earnings growth – thus a PEG of 1 is neutral.

      A high P/E means higher stock price volatility (up and down) and thus, greater investment risk and the potential for higher investment return. But the earnings and profits have to eventually materialize, or investors will drop the company like a hot potato. Institutional investors generally get the jump on individual investors on dumping the stock before the great fall.

      Amazon investors do not define which companies will ultimately be successful. They are simply betting on one of the spots on a roulette table and hoping that the ball drops in their favor.

    3. Momentum investing is an emotional sport. You generally have to defy the logic of earnings, profits, and value and focus on the dream of a future in which your company of choice has grown like…well, Apple!

      Sooner or later, that emotional, bandwagon investment approach is overtaken by reality, for better or worse. But it does not imply an inherent merit of a particular company. You might want to reflect on the dot.com companies back in the late 1990s with high P/E multiples and dreams of corporate greatness. How many of them still exist today? Of those that do, what is the annualized return on investment since the late 1990s? Since 2001? Reality…

      1. Today in the misinformation age, all investment is an emotional sport.

        Don’t blame the press for the situation either–most are just lazy click whores that reprint what the corporate PR hands them. Laziness, not corruption, is the leading press trait.

        However, when is Apple going to get a helpful PR department? When are they going to help investors by breaking out the profits of the Other category on their financials????

        Apple too is lazy and unhelpful on many issues. The executive interviews in the press remind me of how airheaded and question averse the current Apple leadership is. Jobs actually answered questions without deflecting. It’s only when consumer backlash pushes hard that Timmy can break away from his social events and address customer and investor questions.

    4. “I honestly don’t ever remember Apple being touted as a rival destroyer the way Amazon is.”
      Perhaps your youth doesn’t permit you to remember very far back.
      Henry Ford once said: “You can’t build a reputation upon what you are going to do”.

      Amazon has just destroyed Toys R Us. Apple destroyed Nokia, Blackberry, Palm in the phone industry; Microsoft was once the Amazon of the computer industry – always “what they were going to do” and people bought into it and bought their stock even when growth wasn’t there. Many people and wall street pundits shied away from Apple when they performed and performed and out performed. Yet Apple destroyed or changed industries – with the mouse, with DTP and laser printers, with doing away with the floppy disk drive, with wireless and on and on. Walmart has destroyed more (mom and pop) companies than Amazon by a huge margin. Amazon is not the “be all and end all” in paradigm shifts.

      1. I believe Henry Ford’s buddy Tom Edison proved the quote wrong.

        In the 1880’s, Edison cemented his industrial sainthood by taking credit for the incandescent lightbulb and declaring he would ligh the world with it. To this day the myth holds.

        Problem is, the incandescent light bulb was patented 40 years before the Edison version. Carbon lights were in production before Edison started any experiments. Edison just wanted to commercialize lower cost electric bulbs to replace interior gas lamps (subscription business model with monopoly electric power plant pricing). Backed by JP Morgan, Edison did light several mansions in NY using DC generators. Nice work, but it wasn’t an invention. The business then soon ground to a halt. Edison did not honor his promises to light the world with his DC tech. Others eclipsed him very quickly.

        Westinghouse, bankrolling an eccentric Tesla, lit the world with AC power which is orders of magnitude more efficient in power distribution. Edison couldn’t grasp the math behind AC power. Edison himself was removed from GE by the investors who realized they were going to go bankrupt if GE didn’t follow the superior tech.

        Nevertheless, to this day, the promise of Edison’s claims are enough to convince the public that Edison created electric lights. He didn’t, he commercialized a cheap DC bulb that was quickly eclipsed by better tech.

        1. “It may be surprising to some to learn that history doesn’t even really credit Edison with “inventions”, when we look at the history of Edison (in text books, documentaries, or say on WikiPedia) it’s always “he improved this idea” or “he acquired this patent”. We just need to remember that when history says “he”, they really mean the team of inventors working under Edison at his direction. Edison himself was busy coming up with ideas, securing patents, and running the team.”

          Edison’s TEAMs did lots, like Job’s Teams (Apple) does lots. The reputation still is, in the end, is not on what you are going to do, but what you did do. Jobs did not invent most of the things that ARE patented through Apple, but His leadership via the media is given the credit. The General that gets the hero’s welcome is the general that gets the foot soldiers to follow his commands and directions wisely and correctly. The General’s reputation is not upon what he is “going to do” but “did!”

        2. Edison had one inspired invention, the phonograph. . . and that may have been invented by one of his engineers. The record is unclear.

          But what Edison did do was invent the modern cooperative engineering laboratory where a team of skilled engineers and scientists worked together to accomplish a set goal instead of a single person working alone or with a few assistants. Edison’s genius was the same as Steve Jobs, that of seeing where to point his team and to direct them in getting them there. Both of them had spectacular failures as well as spectacular successes.

          Edison’s was his failure to see Nicola Tesla’s genius in the AC generator and motor and the fact that AC could be transmitted for long distances. Edison hung his future on lots of local DC generation plants. . . and failed due to his blind spot about the incapability of DC to be transformed to higher voltages.

          I think that Edison was more stubborn that was Jobs. Jobs could finally admit he was wrong and then embrace what he had rejected and get out in front to be the leader. Edison instead dug in his heels, and resisted stronger.

          1. Very fair assessment. Perhaps Edison, being technical himself, dug in harder. Jobs would possibly yield sooner when no matter how hard he drove the team would change.

            Also, Edison would not make a factory paint the machines white. He was a douche, but not that flavor.

  2. the really odd thing was in those long ago years Bill Gates got invited all the time to speak about his ‘projections of the future’ like he was some great seer to capacity crowds. There were thick books about what Bill Gates thought would be the future etc. (Younger folks would be astonished how Gates was revered as a ‘tech genius’ in those times. Like Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and the Google Boys rolled into one). Steve Jobs was ignored for like 10 years before his second coming.

    Yet when we look back Bill Gates and Microsoft hardly innovated anything. When they copied Mac with Win 1, it was inferior and had to wait to Windows 3 before it was usable. (Note before Mac’s GUI Microsoft’s contender was command line Ms DOS with no mouse)
    To put this into perspective if Apple had followed Microsoft’s playbook Jobs would have as the iPhone built a Blackberry Clone with keyboard which was INFERIOR to the Blackberry surviving only because it was CHEAP.

    Apple revolutionized every field it entered. Microsoft won by making often inferior copies but swarming the market with it’s cash clout : Xbox followed Playstation, I.E followed Netscape , M.S vs Word Perfect, Excel vs Lotus etc. None of Msft’s products were a great leap forward in tech and didn’t change the landscape like the Mac’s GUI , iTunes, iPhone, Apple Watch etc.

    If tech was music the world worshipped Salieri over Mozart.

    1. Recall that in the original release of Gates’ late 1995 book “The Road Ahead” he didn’t even see the internet as a big thing, calling it a “precursor” to the “information highway” rather than the internet highway itself.

      That’s vision for you.

      1. Bill Gates was and still is a fraud. Today he wants to kill education with common core crap, and “vaccinate” Africans into lower numbers.

        Bill Gates is scum and the sooner he and his fuggly wife fcukkk off from this planet, the better.

        The dumm fcukkks wouldn’t even let their kids use iPhones or iPod. Fcukkkwits.

        1. I’m no fan of Bill Gates or Microsoft, but how is fighting malaria, malnutrition and working to lower deaths of mother and child during pregnancy a bad thing? You sound like you get your news from Alex Jones….

          1. Gates pushes drugs on the children of poor, not on his own children which, to me, sounds like he’s just a wealthy drug dealer working under the cover of law that his rich friends, past and present, wrote.

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