Apple worth more than Microsoft and Intel combined
Fanbois rejoice! Dreaded Wintel beast vanquished
Let historians note that on Friday, June 3, 2011, Apple surpassed the market capitalization of Microsoft and Intel combined.
This milestone comes to us courtesy of MacDailyNews, which notes that as of the close of Friday's markets, Microsoft's market cap was $201.59bn and Intel's was $115.21bn, putting the combined value of the once-feared "Wintel" juggernaut at $316.8bn.
Apple closed marginally down today, but its market cap checked in at $317.6bn.
Okay, so Apple's lead over Wintel may be tiny – but it's real. And for we unreconstucted fanbois who weathered the wanderings of Apple CEOs John "Focus-Free" Sculley, Michael "Over His Head" Spindler, and Gil "Fumble-Mumble" Amelio, 'tis a great day, indeed.
If you're a long-time Apple-watcher (welcome, brother!), you'll remember how the two-headed Wintel beast provoked both fear and loathing among the Cupertinian clan. We derided it – but that derision was born as much out of insecurity as it was out of a feeling of superiority.
Wintel was The Great Satan, grinding its pitchfork into the spleen of the Mac faithful, seemingly invincible, titanic in its majestic market share.
Actually, "Titanic", come to think of it, is not an inappropriate descriptor.
My, what a difference a decade or so makes. Microsoft is struggling for relevance, Intel is scuffling to break into the all-important low-power mobile market – and Apple has $66bn in the bank, has single-handedly flipped the PC market on its ear with the iPad, and will next week open a Worldwide Developers Conference whose tickets sold out in a matter of hours.
And we all know how Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer feels about the importance of "developers, developers, developers, developers."
As überfanboi website MacDailyNews points out, for Apple fans (Some would say "Apple cult members"—Ed.), passing Wintel in market capitalization is cause to "bathe in some of the purest Schadenfreude ever concocted."
It's also a good time to blow a fine, fluidic raspberry – pfllt! – at some of the naysayers who predicted – hoped for? – Apple's failure over the years. And thanks to the good folks at The Mac Observer and their long-running "Apple Death Knell Counter", we can indulge in some of the choicest predictions of Apple's demise:
- "Five Reasons Why There Will Be No Macs in 2010", by Chris Seibold, March 7, 2006: "The era of the all-in-one hardware and software solution has been gone for at least the last ten years, even though Apple hasn’t quite caught on yet."
- "2006 could be year that Apple CEO Jobs falls off pedestal", by Kevin Maney, December 20, 2005: "Sometime in 2006, Steve Jobs will probably get hosed."
- "12 Big Surprises for 2005", by John D. Markman, December 30, 2004: "Apple turns to Philips Electronics for a bailout and is sold to the Netherlands-based consumer electronics giant for $80 a share."
- "Mac Death Match, Round Five: Chaffin vs. Enderle", by Rob Enderle, May 13, 2004: "If [Apple] doesn't offer solutions that will play on [Linux and Windows Vista] the way iTunes currently does on Windows, it will probably become a footnote by the end of the decade."
- "IDC Says Linux Will Pass Mac OS Market Share By 2005, Possibly End Of 2003," by Dan Kusnetzky, December 19, 2002: "Certainly by ... 2005, possibly by the end of 2003, Linux will pass Mac OS as the No. 2 operating environment."
- "E-Mac, i-Mac, No Mac", by John Dvorak, June 17, 2002: "Isn't it about time the Macintosh was simply discontinued – put down like an old dog?"
- "Apple's Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel", by Arne Alsin, October 25, 2001: "Don't buy Apple's stock. And if you own it, sell it."
- "Sorry, Steve: Here's Why Apple Stores Won't Work", by David Goldstein, May 21, 2001: "I give them two years before they're turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake."
And that's just in the past 10 years. There are, of course, other classics remembered by long-term fanbois, such as Michael Dell's 1997 answer to a questioner who wanted to know what he'd do if he were Apple's CEO: "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."
Then there's the quote from a recently unearthed unpublished 1998 interview with Bill Gates that MacDailyNews reminded us of on Friday: "What I can't figure out is why [Steve Jobs] is even trying [to be the CEO of Apple]?" the ur-Microsoftie said. "He knows he can't win."
Well, Billy-Boy, he did.
As a company, Apple is infuriating: secretive, controlling, ruthless, and monomaniacal. But love them or hate them – and there seems to be little middle ground – you cannot deny that in the last decade they have become very, very successful.
Successful enough to vault over the Wintel beast. ®
To be fair to all those pundits who predicted Apple's death, the predictions were based on the assumption that Apple were competing with MS on the desktop.
Although I believe Apple have increased revenue (& market share ?) on the desktop, they're main money/growth areas have come from products that didn't exist at the time: iPod, iPhone & iPad.
Apple's growth has come from finding and exploiting new markets.
How many new markets has MS discovered and exploited in the same time ?
Where pundits got it wrong was assuming Apple were competing with Microsoft, or competing for platform market share. That's only really in the mind of fanbois on either side. Apple and Microsoft are in different (but related) markets. Apple is primarily a hardware company, Microsoft is primarily a software company.
Apple's focus is on making good quality hardware, providing a good user experience and making a good profit. Giving Mac OS X or iOS a large share of the OS market may be a step on the way to achieving those goals but isn't a goal in its own right.
That's why Apple are relaxed about you installing Linux or Windows on your Mac (you've bought their hardware) but are dead set against you installing Mac OS on other hardware (they don't care about software market share, they do care very much about being able to differentiate their hardware offerings from the competition). Also, what's the point of having 90% of the market but making 5% at most of the profit? "We're making a loss on each unit, but at least we're making it up in volume". I think not. Much better to have 5% of the market and 90% of the profit, surely?
Apple's competitors 10 years ago weren't Microsoft or Intel but were PC manufacturers like Dell and HP and Lenovo and Sony. 5 years ago it wasn't Microsoft but mobile phone and MP3 player and portable games console vendors. Now Apple's focus has shifted again and they're into digital goods and advertising and their main competitors are Google and Amazon, but again, Microsoft is a relatively minor competitor.
Wrong emotionally loaded term?
"They may be controlling, they may be borderline communist in their ideals..."
If you are going to use loaded words, please use them correctly. Unless you've seen a completely different Apple than I have in the last several years, you probably meant to say borderline "fascist," not "communist."