The Apple Matterhorn
A second, and more traditional way to gauge a company's health is by examining its net sales and its net profits. In this chart, you can observe the slippage in Apple's net sales during the last few years of the No Steve era, and the parallel submersion of its net profits into negative territory:
When the Steve II era began, both lines rose, only to be dope-slapped by the bursting of the Internet bubble in 2001, when art directors and Web developers stopped buying Power Macs and starting learning to say "Do you want fries with that?" in Spanish, Mandarin, and Hindi.
Since that dip, however, net sales have had a wild ride, with Apple raking in a cool $32.47bn in its just-ended 2008 fiscal year (which wrapped up on September 30). Net profits have experienced a healthy rise as well - but since much of the increased sales volume was of lower-margin products such as the ubiquitous iPod, the slope of the profit curve is less Matterhorny.
Jobsian Dough Growth: A-
The iPod Blankets Western World and Super Bowl
Speaking of the iPod, this next chart is a doozy. If you've ever wondered why just about everybody you see on your bus or subway commute route seems to have white wires hanging out of their ears, it's because just about everybody owns an iPod. Since these petite Walkman-killers were introduced as 2001 drew to a close, Apple has sold 174.1 million of them.
To put that number into perspective, enough iPods have been sold to provide a personal 'Pod to every man, woman, and child in the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, Greece, Israel, Sweden, Austria, Chile, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Greenland. And you'd still have enough leftover to give one to each fan attending Super Bowl XLIII eight days after the Mac turns 25.
You'll also notice that the iPod's phenomenal growth rate is flattening a bit. Don't sell your Apple stock just yet, however. Take a look instead at the streaking purple line in the lower right corner that charts iPhone sales. The Jesus Phone is one helluva popular Son of 'Pod. Apple recently reported that iPhone sales have passed sales of the former top phone, the Motorola RAZR. Although the iPhone has a long, long way to go before it reaches iPod territory - if, indeed, it ever does - early returns are impressive.
What's even more impressive to many analysts is the rise in Mac sales, which have nearly doubled since 2006. Although it's a safe bet that the Mac will never again have as high a market share as it did during the Steve I era, a doubling of unit sales in three years ain't exactly chopped fiscal liver, especially when the rest of the personal computer market is flat-lining.
Walkman-Killer Growth: A
Next page: iTunes and the Halo Effect
"Apple isn't doing as well as their marketing would have you believe"
Well, far from me defending a company, any company, let alone Apple. All I have ever bought from them is my first gen 4GB iPod nano (I like it), which I plan to retire when (if) I get a Touch. But I dislike Apples dictatorial style and all that.
That said, the article did not present marketing. Or at least not just. As far as I could see, the article presented some charts with not too shabby numbers on them. I wish I had a company doing that badly. Or are you implying those numbers are fake (marketing)? Call the SEC or whatever, then?
@AC "That old trope again.."
Well, but they do not listen with their senses+reasoning, they listen with their emotions... There's serious research about this, "the taste of brand", you know. And they have no clue what you are talking about anyway. Your reasoning is thus wasted on those you're trying to reach, really.
"Software for windows platforms tend to be developed with easy ram upgrades considered more favourable than efficient code. Maybe with Macs there's more of an attitude to make it work on the kit that came out of the box"
I don't think it's a case of Apple trying harder to make software work on old hardware. They are primarily a hardware company. If anything making people upgrade more often would be good for their business.
Like OS X, Linux runs on old hardware. I think that's because it's well programmed.
Microsoft has always written bloated software. For example, compare the number of system calls made to serve up one static html on IIS:
and the same thing done by Apache:
Also consider that many applications run faster under Wine than they do in Windows, and that Samba has historically given better performance serving files than native Windows.
Åpple uses Carbon and Cocoa to build OS X . How many platforms and languages does Microsoft use? The more complicated you make things the more likely there are to be failures, and the more "workarounds" that have to be added to address faults.
One other big factor, I think, is Microsoft's staff retention. MS keeps their staff employed even when they are rubbish programmers or have barely any work to do. I've heard first hand from developers sent to coding conferences who log in at the conference, go shopping all day, then log out at the end.
This is an enlightening read:
Apple properly sliced & diced!
I have used Macs professionally since, well, 1984, and I have survived years of both Apple/Mac zealotry and repeated premature announcements of Apple's imminent demise. Very few biz-tech writers have correctly dissected Apple Computer's inner chronology (and reasons for its recent market success) as well as does this author. The article even has lovely Excel charts! :-)