14 Jun 2010

Think Money

Apple is bigger (in market capitalisation) than IBM, Intel and even Walmart. In fact at $213.98 billion, it is bigger than ALL other companies in the US, except for Exxon Mobile at $319.21 billion and Microsoft at around $260 billion (if Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer's share are taken into account).

The S&P Index actually put Apple Inc. ahead of Microsoft Corp. because Gates and Ballmer don't trade their stock. (About 87.7% of Microsoft shares are publicly floated, vs. 99.2% of Apple shares, according to FactSet Research.)

This is a long way to come for a company that had to be theatrically rescued in 1997 by a competitor, Bill Gates (live satellite feed captured on the Time magazine cover, above)!

I wonder how much longer Apple can live up to its 'Think Different' image - because, like it or not, a huge proportion of the current generation of Apple's fans still believe it. Apple has always been the 'creative' underdog - taking on IBM (then called 'Big Blue') and later Microsoft (via the PC).

Yes, their products are better than most. Yes, they have corralled users into a iBookstore, iTunes and App Store - and deviced the clever concept of iAd. Yes, they have Steve Jobs. But...

Apple is now just another ubiquitous, Made-in-China product... assembled by about 200,000 workers - largely, women - toiling 15 hours a day.

And they are somehow 'different'?

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