According to the Wall Street Journal today, Apple had a market value of $15.6 billion as compared to Microsoft at $556 billion 10 years ago when Steve Ballmer took over for Microsoft.
How did it happen that Apple has now passed the blue chip of blue chips in newer tech companies in cap value as it did today? By outdoing Microsoft with the consumer. So interesting that Microsoft has had many attempts at the consumer market through the Web. Apple stuck to products. And transformed itself into the sexiest gadget company on the planet (Sorry Sony).
Microsoft stated a goal a couple of years ago to have 25% of its’ revenues in the media business. Meanwhile, the iPhone has taken the newest of emerging media technologies, the smart phone market by storm. And in the process, pumped up a fairly small widget market and transformed it into the app market. Talk about being in the media business. Microsoft has talked the talk, but Apple has walked the walk. Music, phones, publishing, what’s next?
But it could be that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet as the man once said. The iPad, like the iPod and the iPhone, may just be the biggest transformational product of all. And, it effectively merges a number of markets. It merges technology and media in a way that nothing ever has. It might even revive the magazine business in a way that the web never could. It’s already seriously cutting into netbook sales (sorry Intel) already. They say it has a 7-10 day delivery time, but trust me, it’s more like 3-4 weeks. And the backlog is getting longer, not shorter.
Sure, there are a lot of companies coming out with their tablets. Just like there were many with MP3 players, many with eReaders, and MANY MANY with phones and smart phones. Anybody want to bet against Apple on the iPad? Sure, Amazon won in the eReader area, but Apple is not going to win them all.
Apple’s convergence of gadgets, applications and the media business is unique. I find myself using apps and smaller footprint software a lot more, at the expense of the time I spend with things like Office.
Nobody could have predicted this. And Apple is not expected to slow anytime soon. We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg in where the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod Touch can go. Apple is in the media business to say. And they did it the hard way, through innovation in products rather than media vehicles. Good for them. (This from a diehard PC and Windows fan)