I never thought I would see this in my life time but: Apple is now worth more than Mister Softee. About $3 billion more.

Here’s the NYT:

“As of Wednesday, Wall Street valued Apple at $222.12 billion and Microsoft at $219.18 billion. The only American company valued higher is Exxon Mobil, with a market capitalization of $278.64 billion.

The revenue of the two companies are comparable, with Microsoft at $58.4 billion and Apple at $42.9 billion. Microsoft is sitting on more cash and short-term investments, $39.7 billion, to Apple’s $23.1 billion, which makes the value assigned by the market to Apple — essentially a bet on its future prospects — all the more remarkable.”

My first computer was a Mac Classic. I’ve had Quadras, PowerPCs, G3s, G4s,G5s, iMacs (blue) iMac (flat white) iMacs (Aluminum), Powerbooks, Mac Book Pros.

I frequently wrote about Apple, prayed it wasn’t dying, hoped for a recovery. This is truly beyond my wildest imagination.

Links to earlier writings on Apple are below



Popular or Best? (ATPM January 1998)

Is Disney/Pixar the sequel to Apple/NeXT ? (January 30th, 2004)

Apple morphs into a Consumer Electronics Co (April 25th, 2004)

Analysts Still Underestimate Apple (Real Money, Jan 13, 2005)

Apple to Music Industry: Monetize Your IP (April 28th, 2004)

The Single Company Magazine Cover Indicator (March 20th, 2006)

Microsoft the Innovator to Open Retail Store (October 15th, 2009)

Category: Technology, Valuation

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

42 Responses to “Apple Now More Valuable Than Microsoft”

  1. subscriptionblocker says:

    That can’t be right Barry – Apple is having layoffs :)


  2. Trevor says:

    I see Steve Jobs looking at the moment Apple surpasses Exxon as a good time to retire from day-to-day work for Apple, because, at that point, he will likely have achieved everything he set out to do. There are few in history who have assembled a team capable of getting their company to number one, especially in such short order.

  3. franklin411 says:

    Congrats, Apple! Now if only you could solve that little issue of workers jumping out of windows and committing suicide! 10 this year alone!

    Foxconn hit by 10th jumping death; nets installed

  4. Winston Munn says:

    It is truly amazing what can be accomplished with 480,000 Chinese factory workers and a few bowls of rice.

  5. Chief Tomahawk says:

    I guess that noise I’ve been hearing is Bill Gates’ head hitting the desk, accompanied by barely audible mutters of “Why didn’t I use some of our ‘glorious’ cash to buy Apple 4 years ago…Oh, f*cking Zune!!!!!!!”

  6. constantnormal says:


    So tell me sir, can you buy either Mr Softee or Apple for their market cap? Hmmmm?

    And the sales of Microsoft are what exactly? And Apple?

    How about earnings? What?!? MSFT is bigger there too?

    Sorry, but I just get so irritated when people who should know better mistake the amount of chips Wall Street places on the stock market roulette table square of one particular ticker for the VALUE represented by that ticker.

    For VALUE is a many-faceted thing, and Wall Street is exceedingly fickle. If Steve Jobs were to be hit by a bus tomorrow, the “value” represented by the market cap would plummet, despite the fact that Jobs has only a minimal involvement in the day-today operation of the company, and they did just fine, breaking all kinds of records while he was medically unable to perform and was on leave. Is that the mark of any reasonable metric of “value”? Is “value” emotional and fickle, or something that has more substance to it?

    That said, the fact that the market cap of AAPL exceeds that of MSFT cannot be regarded as a vote of confidence for the “leadership” of Microsoft, who have managed to fritter away a mind-numbing dominance in that industry to the point where alternatives to Windows and Office can receive serious consideration in the general PC marketplace. That was not the case only a decade ago, when Apple was on death’s doorstep following a succession of clueless leaders without a coherent strategy.

    It is an impressive vote of confidence, but “value”? Gimme a break. A halfway decent management team could take the market share and products that Microsoft has and retake their once mighty market clout in only a short while. Unfortunately for MSFT stockholders, that does not appear to be in the cards. There remains an immense store of “value” within Mr Softee, most likely more than there is within Apple. But Steve Balmer seems determined to erase it as fast as he can.

    And THAT is why the pile of chips on the AAPL ticker is higher than that of the MSFT ticker. It’s an expression of confidence in the future, and very little else.

  7. Dude, roll with it

  8. franklin411 says:

    I can see it now. The next big Apple marketing campaign:

    “Wanna know how many Chinese killed themselves to make your iPad? Yep, there’s an app for that too!”

  9. Greg0658 says:

    Wal*Mart market cap = $188.33B (Yahoo)

    “discount department stores with size varying from 51,000 square feet to 224,000 square feet”
    “more than 6,200 facilities around the world”
    “employing more than 2.1 million worldwide”
    “Total assets US$ 170.70 billion (2010)”
    this caught my eye – “On March 20, 2009, Wal-Mart announced that it is paying a combined $933.6 million in bonuses to every full and part time hourly worker of the company. An additional $788.8 million in profit sharing, 401(k) contributions”

    Apple – marketing at its finest – if 5% ask for cash back to pay bills – well – just be in that first 5% .. not that I’m a fan of the super general store – but there really is no comparison … ps – how many i devices have been written off in bad debts / defunct credit cards .. so I bet I own some apple .. private profits and public losses … really i-ers – sitting in line overnight to buy a music player that will be upgraded in 6 months … go to Dollar General and get a China knockoff for $40 .. save your money for old age (in some kind of storage container)

  10. gloppie says:

    I’m a PC, but I ain’t mikro$oftee.

    Ubuntu rules.

  11. constantnormal says:

    I should mention that I too have been a Mac-head since about 1990, and have never owned (or been owned by) a Windows machine (although I’ve been tortured by plenty of them over the years).

    I’ve made a lotta money in AAPL over the years, mainly by buying deep-in-the-money long LEAPs and sitting on them, back when buy-and-hold still worked.

    However, at the moment I see more potential in other areas, as it seems unlikely that AAPL can continue to grow at its present rate for more than a few years (without buying a phone company or some other cash cow — I dream of Apple buying Sprint and rolling out their 4G cellular network a full 2 years ahead of AT&T), as they would wind up with all the money on the planet if they continued at their present pace. That seems somehow implausible.

    I wonder if Jobs thinks about buying Disney, and bringing Pixar back into the fold … a stock swap + cash deal seems possible. I think that would give Balmer a stroke, and he would have to lay down more rules for his family, no ABC TV, no Disney/Pixar movies, and no more trips to Disneyland or Disneyworld!

    Or perhaps after another few years of Balmer working his magic on Mr Softee, and Jobs presiding over continued Apple growth, Apple might do a hostile takeover of Mr Softee, just out of pure cussedness (there, that’s the Mac fan-boy in me talkin’).

  12. Greg0658 says:

    ps – “Total assets US$ 170.70 billion (2010)” .. remind you all thats not including tax payer assistance gimmies to “open an anchor store here – no over here – no over here”

  13. constantnormal says:

    I think it must be the dream of every upscale mall in America to have an Apple store within their stable of merchants. Nothing brings people spending money like an Apple store.

  14. kodjo says:

    I’ve been using Apples since before Macs, so needless to say I’m a fan, but the stock is overvalued.

  15. Myr says:

    To be fair, MSFT did pay out a hefty dividend not too long ago. Paid out dividends should be added back to market cap, so I believe MSFT is still ahead. Just saying…

  16. mister_x says:

    Probably marks the top in Apple mania when HuffPo makes it the front page item.

    And relax with all the Chinese worker comments. It’s not any of you are going to do something noble and stop buying Apple products because of it.

  17. Bruman says:

    Apple/Mac/iPod/iPhone has plugged into my Limbic system and has made me happy.

    I remember the days when we were waiting for Apple to go bankrupt and wondering what we would do.

    This is a nice feeling.

    I do miss my Newton, though.

  18. Thor says:

    Constant, that’s actually not a half bad idea – Apple and Disney merging. Disney is rumored to be looking to get rid of ABC. Technology and Media – the of the marketing and advertising potential.

  19. If you can’t admire what Apple has achieved as a company than the problem lies with you. I started on an Apple II Plus back in the day and to be able to read this blog on a device that is in my pocket every day and just works, is awesome. I know there is plenty of talent at Microsoft and someday they just may come out with something that leaps ahead, but give credit where it is due Apple kicks ass and I wish there were other American companies that would give them a run for their money but there isn’t.

  20. hgordon says:

    Watch Google – they aren’t so far behind, and their net margins are a lot better than Apple’s …

    Google market cap | $ 151.4 billion
    revenue | $ 23.65 billion
    employees | 19835
    revenue / employee | $ 1.192 million
    net income | $ 6.52 billion

    Apple market cap | $ 222.1 billion
    revenue | $ 42.05 billion
    employees | 36800
    revenue / employee | $ 1.143 million
    net income | $ 7.477 billion

  21. [...] The Big Picture: Apple now more valuable than Microsoft [...]

  22. VennData says:

    Two dinosaurs in a death grip by open platforms pushed by Google at every application arena.

    Google is a soup-to-nuts, capital-provider-to-shop-floor VC firm …providing investment in platforms that will force openness, reasonable prices, and customer service into Microsoft’s and Apple’s closed, high-price business models. Good riddance to them, especially Microsoft who has slowed down IT development with their greedy, monopolistic business model.

    The Bill Gates/Steve Ballmer legacy will be the men who slowed down IT with their copycat mediocrity.

  23. wisedup says:

    logic can’t explain the interest that is building
    check out the wired video
    seems that flash is officially dead.

  24. Greg0658 says:

    what a joke this market based MSM hyped system we have in this bahbahbah country

    Apple getting free airtime all over the place .. James Carville calling shots like he needs a another client to push into a seat .. BP stations being picketed as a spite outrage when reality is break their back now and turn the cleanup costs & debt over to ourselves * .. what a system … cue-up demon sheep spot – put present boogieman in star-seat

    our primary problem to address – is the fact that government is being controlled by individuals more and more and not democracy – am I right or am I right LarryK

    * coda – or create an even bigger TBTF

  25. wally says:

    Partly, Steve Jobs is a genius… a tyrant and not very likeable, but a genius. But, even more, Microsoft got its monopoly position and then sat on its assets. It is a classic case of the tools that got you to the top were the wrong tools to keep you there. The tipoff to that is Ballmer’s in-your-face attitude – total wrong when you are at the top. Microsoft has not innovated or added any value to computer productivity in a decade. Apple has not either, but they make great toys.

  26. hammerandtong2001 says:

    That i-Phone is just a revolutionary thing. And aapl sells millions of them every month.

    They are pushing out the mobile web in ways that no one could have seen even 2-3 years ago.

    Remember our old friend, Mary Meeker? Morgan’s tout analyst. Well she’s forecasting the “next big thing” and it’s the mobile web:


    The new bubble will save us from an Mt. Everest of debt. Amen.

  27. Rikky says:

    microsoft and apple are not the future. the former is bumbling around with no coherent strategy of which to speak. apple is a closed platform that cannot harness the creative energies of the development community who would make their products and integration ever greater. this is where google fills the gap. they understand the shortcomings of both companies and have addressed them by building a products and tools that foster innovation. in 10 years google will be the 800lb gorilla and microsoft and apple will be niche players. for example take a look at google waves. while it shares some features with other products because its purposely built as an open platform it can be extended and enriched in so many valuable ways.


  28. Mark Down says:

    Thank-you Mr. Steve Jobs.

  29. bondjel says:

    To me this suggests that Steve Jobs is the entrepreneur par excellence; they dumped him for that jerk from Pepsi way back when so he founded another firm, Pixar, and made it a blockbuster name; then he comes back to Apple and pulls it out of the dumpster and oversees huge successes like the Ipod, Iphone and Ipad. Even though Microsoft stole the Mac interface to construct Windows it looks like Steve Jobs gets the last laugh. I’m happy for that bit of poetic justice.

  30. d4winds says:

    They’ve had a good run but I do not see a sustainable competitive advantage over, say, Google. MSFT may be around much longer at these valuation levels because so much of corporate business is tied up in their Office (and hence Windows) products. Sun has tried w/ OpenOffice to break this vice lock without a great deal of success. Cloud computing holds promise for breaking the MSFT grip but needs a cheap, extremely reliable Office/Win migration tool(set) for the corporate IT depts. Until then, MSFT has an annuity w/ pricing power to go with it. MSFT isn’t much of an innovator (& hasn’t been for 15 years; acquisition is not innovation) but it has a lot of company in the DJIA-level in that regard, where market expansion is at the geographically extensive margin, not the massively innovative intensive one. Not only does AAPL face competition, its first mover status is in the notoriously fickle, techno-driven, & viciously competitive consumer electronics market. If AAPL can convince corporate America to build its business around iphones & ipads, then its market cap will exceed MSFT’s long term since that dependence provides the relative competitive immunity. But as it stands, AAPL has, like it had with the Mac, nice to-have consumer products, not corporate must-haves.

  31. Rikky says:

    >>Even though Microsoft stole the Mac interface to construct Windows it looks like Steve Jobs gets the last laugh. I’m happy for that bit of poetic justice.

    Actually it was Xerox that they both got it from. Apple licensed PARC so fair and square. Microsoft not so much.

  32. fp says:

    Why do you bring up that worker suicide thing when Apple is mentioned, franklin411? Foxconn makes products for many companies, not just Apple. Do you own a Dell or HP PC, or a PC with an intel motherboard, or a Kindle, Xbox 360, PS2/3, or Wii?


    Among other things, Foxconn produces the Mac mini, the iPod, the iPad, and the iPhone for Apple Inc.; Intel-branded motherboards for Intel Corp.; various orders for American computer manufacturers Dell and Hewlett-Packard; motherboards for UK computer manufacturer Zoostorm; the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 for Sony; the Wii for Nintendo; the Xbox 360 for Microsoft, cell phones for Motorola, the Amazon Kindle, and Cisco equipment.

  33. subscriptionblocker says:

    (yawn) 18th household PC arrives today. Lenovo gets the business since they’re still supporting all our 1998 Thinkpads (possibly better than IBM did – and they were excellent). Will rip out the included/assigned XP immediately upon receipt because MS demands annoy. Especially their “tricks & traps” update service.

    Next purchase is probably that Google netbook – hopefully with a Lenovo nameplate. *Good customer service pays. *

    Am still wary of Google, but Apple and MS are off the charts as “avoidables”. Google seems safer.

  34. Captain Jack says:

    Gotta admit, Steve Jobs kicks some righteous ass — my iPhone is practically a cybernetic appendage. It’s not his fault if the street overvalues his stock.

    p.s. Per Thompson Reuters Datastream, this isn’t the first time Apple has outcapped Microsoft. It’s just that the last time was December 1989.

    p.p.s. How about that Ballmer: “‘There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”

  35. for some reason, these dudes don’t get a whole lot of ‘play’.. http://clusty.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&query=Systemax

    though, this: “VennData Says: May 27th, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Two dinosaurs in a death grip by open platforms pushed by Google at every application arena.

    Google is a soup-to-nuts, capital-provider-to-shop-floor VC firm …providing investment in platforms that will force openness, reasonable prices, and customer service into Microsoft’s and Apple’s closed, high-price business models. Good riddance to them, especially Microsoft who has slowed down IT development with their greedy, monopolistic business model.

    The Bill Gates/Steve Ballmer legacy will be the men who slowed down IT with their copycat mediocrity.”

    from VD, above, has to be the most intelligent I’ve ‘heard him say’..(not that he should care ~)

    w/that, beware those that fear their Customers, Open Source should be the Standard, to maximize Utility, and be Flexible/Resiliant. AAPL & MSFT, may they be from a Past Era.

    on the “Open” side, Clusty has rolled out a ‘Cloud’-offering http://www.yippy.com/

    We should hope more things become Transparent, as, We should know: “Opacity Kills.”

  36. Robespierre says:

    @hammerandtong2001 Says:

    “That i-Phone is just a revolutionary thing.”
    No it is not. That functionality has been around a while. What apple added was pizazz and great marketing and “coolness”.

    Droid is by far a superior technology and IMO will start taking market share from apple.

    And lets not forget (Aug 6, 1997): “BOSTON–Microsoft plans to buy $150 million in struggling Apple Computer stock and pledged to develop Macintosh versions of Internet Explorer, Office, and other key applications. Microsoft%squots backing was made public by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs during his keynote address at the MacWorld Expo show here, and was met by boos and gasps from the audience.”

    And: Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) invented the GUI interface -not apple or MS..

    And while I agree that the Ipad is selling very well I also think that it will attract lots of competition from Android OS

  37. Captain Jack says:

    Re, Droid, seems like wishful thinking to me… my two cents is that Apple may have some powerful lock-in mojo going. When my iPhone dies or needs to be upgraded, I’ll be getting (drum roll please) another iPhone. Which, in turn, stays synched to my itunes. Not gonna be switching any time soon.

    If you can get a majority of users comfortable with your system and then keep them happy (i.e. not piss them off), inertia becomes a huge sustainable advantage. Not to mention that, via the synch-up between iPhone and itunes, Apple may have pulled off a version of the holy grail: tying hardware to software (and making money on both).

  38. momoso says:

    To those above arguing that the stock can’t possibly keep going up I say you are crazy:

    Forget for a moment that they still have a LOT of room to grow in the pc and mobile segments. Or that they have just basically invented a new category with the iPad.

    No, the key here is iAd: AAPL is going to wipe the floor clean with Google on their own turf. They will quickly take a good chunk of the ad dollars in mobiles and tablets, but over the next couple years they will reign over TV ads as well, as we all start ‘watching TV’ over a refreshed Apple TV, our iPads (directly or hooked to a big screen), and even actual TVs with the current Apple TV software built in.

    Put another way, right now iTunes sells 1/3 of all music. In five years Apple will be serving 1/3 of TV, and the ads that go with it.

  39. wunsacon says:

    Apple’s success during the past 15 years supports the proposition that the game isn’t necessarily over just because you’re behind.

    Reminds me of this:

  40. Winston Munn says:

    Look what I did to this town with a couple of bullets and half-a-million Chinamen. No one gets excited if it’s part of the “plan”. Tell someone that ten Chinese factory workers will plunge to their deaths making your Iphone and no one gets excited – it’s part of the plan – but tell them that one little Lehman will get booted from the street and everyone suddenly loses his mind….

    Add a little chaos to their plan. I’m an agent of chaos. And ya know the thing about chaos??? It’s fair.