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Stock market: Apple worth more than Microsoft

As if Microsoft hasn't had enough bad news this week, the stock market now thinks Apple is a more valuable company -- despite Apple's far smaller market share and the seemingly perpetual profits generated by Windows and Microsoft Office.

As Google's comparison of data on the two companies' stocks shows, as of the close of the market today Apple's market cap --its price per share times the number of shares outstanding -- stood at $222.07 billion, against $219.18 billion for Microsoft. That makes Apple the biggest tech company in America and the second-biggest publicly owned U.S. corporation behind only Exxon Mobil ($282.35 billion).

The news may not have vice presidents popping champagne corks in Cupertino, Calif., (or have their counterparts in Redmond, Wash., crying into their beer) and may reflect little more than a one-day demonstration of the market's "ooh, look, something shiny!" exuberance. But since market cap is one of the major ways companies keep score, it still matters -- especially for a company that most people were measuring for a body bag 13 years ago.

Remember Michael Dell's suggestion? In October 1997, the founder of Dell offered his own proposal for the company routinely described as "beleaguered Apple Computer Inc." to a few thousand technology executives: "What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."

(Dell's market cap today, $25.94 billion, barely exceeds the $23.16 billion in cash and short-term investments Apple reported in its quarterly filing at the end of March.)

If you're an Apple shareholder -- note that I am not, as per the Post's conflict-of-interest rules, and never have been, as per a lack of spare funds in prior years -- today must be a good day. If you're also an Apple customer, however, you might want to take a moment to think about the company's cash-on-hand hoard and how your support of its high profit margins helped put the company in this exalted position.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  May 26, 2010; 4:55 PM ET
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It is a dumbfounding and disturbing development that a company that mocked MSFT and other PC developers as 1984-like drones now pockets 40-60% profit margins.
This, with products made at Asian sweatshops so obsessed with secrecy and teeming with pressure that the workers have been killing themselves for years - literally stressing out. Like, lights out. Look it up.
Oh, and Apple's control-freak Dear Leader admits more than a dozen cases where perfectly innocuous material (like prize-winning political cartoons) has been censored from the pristine app catalog. And then put back when crusading journalists say no to the power and shine the light of fair play on the situation.
Well, journalists who are not busy getting their front door beaten down by police summoned by the Dear Leader in a fit of pique. What could be more 1984 than that?
Apple could not be a worse introduction to the world of business and commerce for impressionable young people. It is counter to every principal of open enterprise, fair play, competition on an even plain and collaborative management.

Posted by: FloridaChick | May 26, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Apple must worry about the threat
S that Microsoft used to.


Android, Linux and google threaten Apple as much as it used to threaten Microsoft.

Applenhas the wonderful iPhone and iPad. I expect that in the near term, a tablet android machine I'll show up in a year at a much lower price point.

I have an android phone, it's quite good, the iPhone has a great competitor, and I expect it will get better fast.

Posted by: patb | May 26, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

You are probably too young to know the true history between PARC Xerox, Apple and Microsoft. Do some research and you may find the answer to why Apple has mocked Microsoft.
I have owned computers since the early days, had CPM, IBM compatibles, Windows, and have owned some form of Macintosh since January of 1984. I have never purchased or utilized any virus protection for any of my Macs and in 26 years have never had any malware or virus on any Mac. Can't say the same for Windows.
With regard to sweatshops, most products you use, are produced in the same type of shops as those used by Apple. I am living in China and the suicide rate at the Apple company here is lower than the national average and much lower than similar shops throughout the country.
What Apple allows in their store is at their discretion, not yours. I don't want porno magazines on display in grocery stores in America like they are in some foreign countries I've visited, but that is up to the people who run those franchises. Thank goodness the ones in the States apply the same type of discretion that Apple employs in their store.
The leader of Apple does not have the power to control the activities of police. Their actions are their responsibility. But let me say this, if you steal from me, I will have no problem with the police beating down your door to obtain my property. Being a journalist does not give a person the right to commit a felony.
As for Apple's business model, it is obvious that you are not a business person. In the last 13 years, their share value has increased 34 fold. If I were a young business student I would be studying very aspect of their business model. You sound very ideological with talk of open enterprise, fair play, competition etc., but the truth is that Apple, while having a great deal of it's intellectual property copied or stolen is still capable of producing products that other companies continue to mimic. If you don't like Apple products, don't buy them. But please refrain from spewing Anti-Apple hate.
Hope you have a great day.

Posted by: haburep | May 26, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Apple got to this point by making MSFT look geeky while promoting itself as chic. In addition, it has offered unique products that MSFT has failed to do really since Windows XP.

Posted by: Thundershock | May 26, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Such great heights. A lot can change in a few years, look at how far Google and Facebook have come. And see how far down AOL and Sun Microsystems have fallen. Let's see how things look 5 years from now.

Posted by: ibaya | May 26, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

The crazy market cap out there is Google! But irrational exuberance has to go somewhere right? lol...

I know I've bought a bunch of Apple products over the years, never bought anything from Google. It's a mystery to me really, lol...

Posted by: jeffcoud2 | May 26, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

"But let me say this, if you steal from me, I will have no problem with the police beating down your door to obtain my property. Being a journalist does not give a person the right to commit a felony."

Not sure how you went from your narrative about great Apple products and Chinese sweat shops to the next model IPhone leak, but I'll bite.

If you leave your company phone sitting in a bar, I find it, I call your employer a couple times trying to return it, and I get blown off, I would consider that as you abandoning your property.

Steve took a big wedgie over the incident and cried foul. He should have been chewing out his engineer.

Posted by: BEEPEE | May 26, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

thanks, BEEPEE. I don't need help brushing off this FanBoy haburep but it is nice to meet you anyway.
Too many nutball ideas and revised history in haburep's post to respond to, but it is common knowledge in the Valley that Dear Leader Steve stole GUI from Xerox Parc. He brags about it in the Cringley series of films, and on many other on-the-record occasions. He was there on a tour, blah blah blah. It's legend. Brush up on history, haburep!
I am refraining from laffing about the stolen property iPhone. Some drunk geek sets it down and walks away, in a bar, in the Valley? What did he think would happen? Duh!
The NY Times tech writer made an apt point when he noted that Dear Leader Steve's fleeting moment of satisfaction would be shorter than he realized. Apple's conscription of local deputies as an extension of "campus" security made the company a laffing stock. Violent felons turn themselves in to precincts all the time when called in for questioning, no SWAT team commandos needed. The gall, arrogance and meglomania of this summons of the local fuzz was staggering. Get a grip, Dear Leader!
Dopey college kids with iPhones that are 60% markup look like fools en masse. That market will saturate - even FanBoys pay rent at some point, or spot mom some money for cable. Then what?
The dozen mainstream apps Dear Leader tried to block, and then relented when embarrassed by his own over-reach, had nothing to do with porn. They have been well enumerated in the blog you are reading. Control freaks, nameless, in the Dear Leader skunkworks have played whack-a-mole with no regard for free speech, for harmless things like political cartoons. That one was rich. I am not fooled by the "it's porn" whine. No, it wasn't.
Oh, and the app store. Gee, we can only buy what Dear Leader approves, literally? What is this, a coal mine grocery store with limited choices, high prices and no special orders?
Thanks, but no thanks.
The free market will rule, and the dim silo of the app "store" will become a dusty basement of dead-ends and Apple-only oddities and novelties.
I had an Apple II in the mid-80s and type this on a Mac desktop all-in-one. It blew its hard drive at 14 months, which earned me a lecture from a store manager for not buying the extended warranty. Luckily a nice fellow customer taped this and showed it to him and his boss. Customer service fail but I was made whole for $200. Computer seems OK but is not religion.
I am loaded for bear on the MSFT clustermuck lawsuit, if you like? What was that about history??
Now, back to the Magic game! Go Dwight!!

Posted by: FloridaChick | May 26, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

What was that snarky comment about Apple's high profit margins? Microsoft is a SOFTWARE company. Software companies always have higher margins than hardware companies.

I am happy with my Apple products and do not bemoan the fact that they are good business people. That's what got their products to where they are today.

Posted by: salimbag | May 26, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

in 2 years ms will be chic.

Posted by: iamrta | May 26, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, who knows? Possible factors:

- Microsoft could be undervalued, Apple could be overvalued. There is some breathless analyst hype pumping up Apple, I think.

- Windows XP, Office 2003 working fine thank you.

- Apple sells hardware and Microsoft does not (much). Even with open source, one still needs hardware.

- Apple is hot in a hot area -- mobile broadband. Hardware, software, patents (royalties). Projected earnings are important determinants in the price of a stock, and these could be very large for Apple over 10-plus years. Microsoft not doing so much in mobile broadband.

- Apple shows more growth because it started from a lower position. Microsoft still a great business, twice as profitable.

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | May 27, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

What could be more 1984 than that?

well lets see, saying that a door was kicked in, when no door was kicked in... would be sort of 1984...... or saying that factory workers are killing themselves at high rates, when your state where you live has more suicides per numbers of people than that company... how do i know? because the factory has a lower suicide rate by FAR, than all 50 states, and the U.S. and China as a whole...

but it is very 1984 of you to create fiction in place of truth for us... thanks for that...

Posted by: honkj | May 27, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

- Microsoft could be undervalued ----

really, so it has been "undervalued" for 12 years? going on 13? because it has been trading at this level every year like clock work for 12 straight years... when does "undervalued" switch over in your mind to correctly valued? after 90 years?

-----Microsoft, twice as profitable---

really.... did you really think Apple would get a higher market cap if this were true? obviously it is not... investors like this make it embarrassing for the rest of us.

Posted by: honkj | May 27, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

I call your employer a couple times trying to return it, and I get blown off, I would consider that as you abandoning your property.

really, so you would find a phone from say someone who works at Walmart in your home town, and you would call walmart corp headquarters? instead of calling the person who's name is on the phone? or just plain give it to the bar keep? do you know how stupid you sound? the guy never called Apple he made that up after he realized he was in trouble for shopping it around to the highest bidder... taking something that you can easily identify the owner of, is a crime in california.... guess why the police got involved. dolt...

and no one kicked in any doors, not even the police, why repeat false stories? so we can laugh at you when you do the research and find out that no door was kicked in?

did you think police knock on doors when told about a crime? should we talk about the number of knocks? because that is what people do when they want to make up stories... talk about nothing important.

Posted by: honkj | May 27, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

----- Dear Leader Steve stole GUI from Xerox Parc. ----

really so you get your history from movies and a guy who's name really isn't cringley?

Steve Jobs Ask Xerox if he could run with the crude idea of a mouse and icons, and the corp heads of Xerox said, sure go ahead, we'll just take some stock...... so that is your definition of Stealing? and we are supposed to listen to you about the rest of the history lesson?

great more repeated false B.S. from someone who got his history from movies...

Posted by: honkj | May 27, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

"got his history from movies..."
hey, check out my name - the word "chick" might tip you off to my gender.
yer phunny.

Posted by: FloridaChick | May 27, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Wow - talk about sour grapes!

Posted by: jlm656 | May 27, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: FloridaChick | May 29, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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