Apple Now Bigger Than Microsoft
On Wednesday, Apple has passed Microsoft in stock market value and became one of the most impressive corporate comebacks in history.
The moment speaks volumes on how how technology and business strategies are changing. But it is above all a personal triumph for a chief executive who has consistently defied conventional wisdom and taken huge risks in new industries with entrenched powers, overthrowing the establishment in the music business and the mobile phone business and still staking out new ground.
Mr Jobs was punished for Apple’s early stumbles with his dismissal in 1985. When he returned, he kept his determination to deliver a bundle of hardware and software but added a commitment to aim efficiently at real customers, reining in some wilder engineering ambitions.
“Gates was recognised for being a great businessperson but wanted to be seen as visionary. Jobs was recognised as visionary but wanted to be seen as a great businessperson”, said Alan Deutschman, author of “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs”.
“With Apple eclipsing Microsoft in market cap, it really is Steve Jobs’ proof that he’s a great businessperson and that he achieved what he always envied about Bill Gates.”
Few even within Mr Jobs’ inner circle predicted this day would come so soon. Just a year ago, Apple shares were below $131, less than half the all-time high of $272.46 reached last month. Since then, Mr Jobs returned to the company after a near-fatal bout with pancreatic cancer and Apple has rolled out a speedier version of its iconic iPhone and launched the iPad, a tablet computer that has sold more than 1m units with little cannibalisation of existing product lines.
Microsoft is still trying to recover from a weak version of Windows and to breathe life into its mobile and services strategies. Just this week, it announced the departure of its entertainment and devices chief.