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Wall Street: Software More Valuable Than Oil

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the rich-in-ideas dept.

Apple 223

CWmike writes "The tech industry's answer to this week's stock market roller coaster was delivered on Tuesday by the mighty Apple Inc. Apple saw its stock price rise enough — gaining more than 5% — to briefly surpass Exxon Mobil as the most valuable company in the U.S., according to an AP analysis of its market cap. (Exxon Mobile wound up the day slightly ahead of Apple.) Most of the other major tech companies — including Intel, IBM, Dell, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard — all finished in positive territory yesterday, as markets made up ground lost in the big sell-off on Monday that also hit oil prices and other commodities.Tuesday's rally may be all that's needed to shake away, at least temporarily, some of the economic concerns the IT industry still faces. By closing in on Exxon, Apple effectively affirmed that there are few limits to tech growth. CW blogger Jonny Evans posits that ideas are why Apple beats Exxon on market cap, noting, 'While Exxon drills, hammers and crushes its way to find its billions, Apple's mind-miners explore myriad complexities to develop and understand new technologies.'"

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223 comments

Mind-miners? (1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049072)

Is that a euphemism for "cult"?

Re:Mind-miners? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049424)

Yes, somehow I think their marketing department is worth more than Exxon Mobile, not their software.

Re:Mind-miners? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050148)

Software?

When the trowsers drop, "James Brown" is still "the hardest working man in show business".

That's what she said!

Re:Mind-miners? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049852)

Things like "... the mighty Apple Inc. Apple ...." are already giving us the answer, aren't they? ^^

I finally understood the reality distortion field: http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Reality_Distortion_Field.txt [folklore.org]
It's real.

And it's just as much our own damn fault. It's the same thing that caused the results of the Milgram Experiment and a certain group of brown/black-dressing guys who didn't like Jews or any foreigner very much. ^^

So "cult" may or may not be right, depending on your bestimmtion.
But in any case, the fix is to grow a pair, and also grow a spine. Something you can't ever expect from the ACP (average cattle-people). ^^

Of course (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049082)

An iPad will get you through times of no oil better than oil will get you through times of no iPad.

Re:Of course (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049112)

Depends on whether or not your boss is understanding of you not showing up for work because there's no gas for your car...

Re:Of course (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049178)

depending on job you can work from home without gas (yea for nuclear power),

So yeah it is possible he can understand.

me I am in sales, I can do about a 1/3 of my responsibilities with a laptop, net connection and cell phone.

Re:Of course (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049282)

me I am in sales

*barf*

Re:Of course (2)

toastar (573882) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049524)

um.... working from home is fine, but how do you expect to get food to the grocer?

Re:Of course (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050524)

Erh... I go downstairs and then across the street. Actually, my car is parked further away than the grocery.

Not every place on earth is like the US where you pretty much need a car to collect your mail. In some areas there are actually still small/medium sized shops that don't gauge you, regular, normal grocery shops that exist between the apartments.

Re:Of course (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049576)

Yea, and what about the other 2/3rds? You think you're boss is going to understand that part not getting done?

You are CLEARLY in sales based on your statements. You think its perfectly acceptable to deliver a product that only does a 1/3rd what you claim it does.

Re:Of course (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049898)

An iPad will get you through times of no oil better than oil will get you through times of no iPad.

Not if we're talking about baby oil.

Software? (1)

utkonos (2104836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049088)

Those look like companies making their money on hardware to me.

Re:Software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049230)

SSHHh! Let teh bubble grow!

Re:Software? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050536)

Yeah, what this economy needs direly is another bubble.

Could we, I dunno, ya know, build stuff, sell that and value companies based on what gets made and sold? I know, a completely outlandish concept, but I'm nuts enough that I really want to see this being tried.

Does not surprise (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049098)

your more likely to find oil in your back yard than write software that will not get you sued into the ground due to some blatantly fraudulent patent

Apple isn't a software company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049108)

That's like saying Google is a search company. They're both enticements for what they actually do sell (hardware for Apple, ads for Google).

Yeah, Right (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049120)

Look, Apple closed above Exxon today but that doesn't make software worth more than oil. Oil is a finite resource and has price fluctuations like many other commodities. There is an endless supply of coders to spew out software.

Now, good software may be worth more than oil, but I don't think there's enough of it around to really turn it into a commodity.

Re:Yeah, Right (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050546)

There is. It's use in aerospace and space travel. Ya know, the kind of places where a bluescreen or a burping driver can not only really ruin your day, but the day of many people at once.

Software costs less than hardware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049126)

News at 11.

Side note: Apple doesn't sell software or hardware. They sells systems. Just because young people are used to be able to install an operating system on a generic computer for the last two decades doesn't mean it always was (and always will) be this way. Amiga, Atari ST, Macintosh. There once was a world without Microsoft.

Umm... (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049134)

Bizarre coinages aside, Wall Street wasn't making a comparative pronouncement on the value of software and oil(pro-tip: without oil, the market for shiny consumer goods would skew heavily toward the 'canned' variety...); but on the relative value of a company with substantial ability to pull margins that its peers cannot, vs. a company with a smaller ability to do that.

Now, carry on. It's the "information age" or somesuch...

Re:Umm... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049492)

Value is generally driven off dumb people's guesses about what they think the value will be in 10 years or so. Apple is getting better, and is already big, so they will be worth lots. Oil isn't a growth field, so it's less attractive to those incapable of understanding P/E and such.

Re:Umm... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049602)

(pro-tip: without oil, the market for shiny consumer goods would skew heavily toward the 'canned' variety...);

Pro-Tip: Without oil, computers are not possible. Too many components of oil are required for manufacturing of pretty much every component, ESPECIALLY the ICs themselves. And of course the massive amount of plastic that goes into any modern computer wouldn't exist without oil. In short, no oil means no PC as well.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049818)

Heh... Sorry, but that's not QUITE true these days.

Polylactic Acid plastics already fit in the mix in many applications where you'd find polyethylene or polypropylene- right down to the molding machines.
Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate is another up-and coming bioplastic that can be used where polyethylene is used.

This doesn't even get into using biomass waste as feedstock in varying pyrolysis processes to reduce them into sweet crude which then can be processed.

Don't kid yourself- it's not that we can't do without Oil. It's that it's faintly easier/cheaper at this time because you're not expending effort converting things into usable feedstocks for plastics. Where do we get the energy for this stuff? Heh... There's several places you can get it from, including geothermal and solar (yes...just not the kinds we've seen people playing with...).

Re:Umm... (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050402)

Pro-Tip: Without computers, oil is not possible. Too many computers are required for the manufacturing of pretty much every component of oil, ESPECIALLY the cracking towers that make the gasoline that goes in your car. And of course the massive amount of development that goes into any modern oil field wouldn't exist without computers. In short, no computers mean no oil as well.

I couldn't resist. The only point I see is that computers and oil are codependent.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050560)

Really? They had computers in 1859? BP used computers in the 1930s to develop Saudi oil? Look, computers make some things easier, but really, you're delusional. Oil ALLOWS computers, not the other way around. You can have a technological society with oil and without computers; see WWII.

You can't have a technologically advanced society with computers and no oil... Like I tell the programmers at work "You're three hours away from finding out how useful software is".

"What happens in three hours?"

"You'll be hungry"

The smarter ones get it after a while. The dumber ones keep mashing away at the keyboard like a retard on pudding day.

Pretty much how society is acting right now re: our dwindling energy sources.

Re:Umm... (2)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050798)

While I see your humor, I have to argue that your point (and, to be honest, the point you were replying to) is a victim of mistaking (or improperly generalize) Nth generation tools as 1st generation tools.

Computer control of equipment is done because computers are available. Use of petroleum products in computers is done because petroleum is available. Substitutes in each case exist, but result in lower efficiency and/or greater costs. Much greater costs, much lower efficiency in many cases.

But you'll recall that the first oil was gained by sicking shovels into the ground, or by dipping buckets in pitch springs. And the first things we'd recognize as computers were analog/mechanical devices. ... unless you count abacuses, of course.

ridiculous (4, Insightful)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049136)

This is ridiculous !

Without oil we have no modern civilization. Even if you could somehow replace all the energy produce from oil, you will still need it for: pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, plastics and others various organics chemicals. The modern world depends on oil even more than it dose on software.

Re:ridiculous (1)

Slur (61510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049208)

Yep! We're past the tipping point, but maybe we'll be ok in the long run. Once we terra-form Mars.

Re:ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049890)

Bahahahahhahaaaa!!! AHHHHHHHHHAHAHhah hahahahahahah!!! Hoo boy! We've got a live one here! Level III Space Nutter alert!

Re:ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049254)

Don't worry - when the oil runs out we can just use Macs, iPhones and iPads instead!

Re:ridiculous (3, Interesting)

cfalcon (779563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049442)

Actually, if you could replace all the energy you get from oil, you could use that energy to make the items you list out of simpler substances- no one has any problem combining ingredients to create oil and gas, the issue is that it's never efficient to do so compared to getting it out of the ground. But if we were given a magical device with 100x the energy of all our current sources, we could just afford to fabricate oil and whatever the end products are from veggies and such.

Re:ridiculous (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050968)

the issue is that it's never efficient to do so compared to getting it out of the ground

no, it is not just less efficient, it isalmost always has a negative energy balance.

But if we were given a magical device with 100x the energy of all our current sources, we could just afford to fabricate oil and whatever the end products are from veggies and such.

True but requires a magical device....

Re:ridiculous (1, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049540)

What value does Exxon bring that would be lost if they closed tomorrow? Anything? Are they growing as a company, introducing new products that dominate markets? No? Then they are not worth any more than the return on their dividends. Apple has mystique. They could theoretically grow forever. So as an investment, may make more sense, and that's what this indicates, nothing about the value of the products they sell. That's like saying that nobody needs energy because Enron went under.

Re:ridiculous (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049780)

Absolutely it is. If anything this shows HOW FUCKING WASTEFUL to our world the "information" economy is. Did apple spend X amount to deliver goods to X people? Hell no, they wrote something once and copied it over and over. That copying will be the end of us fundamentally - if you can claim money for a good to which that money you claim was not associated with a creative act, eventually money itself won't have value. I don't care what your theories are - if we all pay money for something that is in effect free, we devalue our currency. This has been rampant with the music and movie industries (the sad sad waste - if we invested what we've paid on shiny discs and explosions on infrastructure, we'd have been set. Instead we give BILLIONS to people that sell... ringtones. Really fucking smart.

And that's why I am a proud pirate.

Re:ridiculous (0)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050466)

[flamebait]Ooh, proud pirate, can you tell me how to root my MacBook Pro? Can you tell me how to get copies of Lion without paying the ridiculous price of $29.99?[/flamebait]

Re:ridiculous (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050528)

Apple is a hardware company.

" I don't care what your theories are"
so you have stopped thinking in any way and jumped to a baseless conclusion. Grow the fuck up.

Re:ridiculous (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049840)

Heh... You can get "Oil" from other sources- just not as easily as you can pulling them from the ground...

All it takes is exposing organic matter (biomass, coal, etc...) to one of several differing pyrolysis processes and you get "Oil"- sweet crude. At efficiencies typically in the ballpark of 70-85%.

Re:ridiculous (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049842)

Find this, an oil company exec stated that they could shut off gasoline and diesel production, have less regulation, taxes and other red tape and make MORE money selling their products as chemical feed stock. They stated the only reason they had not gone that route was their existing customer base and the fear of political reprisal.

I may have imagined hearing that but dimly recall it was not a big name oil company.

Re:ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049860)

Agreed. This is all BS. Without oil the entire stock market would collapse since no one would be able to transport any of the products their companies depend on to generate revenue. Pretty much every tangible object gets sent to us via some sort of oil powered vessel (land, sea as well as air) so all the "mind power" in the world won't ship your new iPhone to your hands. If the rest of the market tanked then really what would Apple really be worth?

Re:ridiculous (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050522)

Without software and computers we don't have a modern world...unless you consider 1850 the modern world.

Re:ridiculous (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050934)

no, before the software there always is hardware, I know about relay based logic and this date back to 1920 in academia and 1930s on production line. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one to know about that. Without software the only truly important thing that would be missing is the INTERNET....

Apple also more valuable than air! (2)

Geof (153857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050906)

This also shows that Apple is more valuable than air. After all, air is free!

Uh, yeah. The idea that price equals value is dangerous ideological mumbo-jumbo. Prices tell what something costs to buy. They do not indicate what it is worth to have. This is why political economists (particularly Marxist ones these days) distinguish between use value and exchange value.

Examples of market prices failing to reflect use values are too numerous to count. Fancy clothes and cars vs basic food, for example, or the most valuable things in life - such as love, meaning in life, and human kindness - that are only available for free.

Bullshit (1, Troll)

BlackTriangle (581416) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049138)

It was because commodities were taking a dump. That being said, I think iPhones and iPod Shuffles are excellent products (disclaimer: I own a Shuffle). Everything else that company produces seems like an overpriced joke, least of which is that bizarre nothing product known as the iPad.

Re:Bullshit (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049606)

Tablets before were netbooks (which still are failures). Almost all the cost of a laptop with fewer features. The iPad is an iPhone with a masive screen and more power. That's better than what it was derived from, unlike previous tablets. The iPad is successful because it's an improvement on an already successful product, rather than a downgrade from a failed product, like so many tablets before. If th iPad were out before the iPhone, it would have been a failure as well. But they took the iPhone and improved it, selling a new product based on the success of the others. That's not nearly as bizarre as taking a netbook that isn't selling, removing features, and then hoping that people will by it by the millions, as everyone else had done to that point.

Not software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049140)

Apple is a consumer electronics company, not a software company.

Apple did end up on top today (2)

bwintx (813768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049142)

Market essentially washed away what it gained back yesterday, and Apple did end up on top today, FWIW.

"Apple Overtakes Exxon to Become Most Valuable" [bloomberg.com]

Re:Apple did end up on top today (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049374)

Market cap doesn't really mean all that much. Other metrics, including revenue and profits matter much more. And so what if Apple is the "largest" publicly traded company right now? That changes so often that it doesn't really matter. Microsoft used to have that title. Cisco had that title for a few days about 11 years ago. GE had that title in the '80s. Besides, there are even larger corporations out there. Saudi Aramco, for example, would be worth trillions of dollars by market cap if it were a public company.

The hyperbole is ridiculous (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049182)

"Apple's mind-miners explore myriad complexities to develop and understand new technologies."

Apple isn't NASA in the 60's, it's a manufacturer of shiny gadgets. They don't even have a research division.

Apple profits because people are vain, and are willing to accrue massive amounts of debt to buy pretty things.

Re:The hyperbole is ridiculous (0, Flamebait)

gmon750 (1216394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049718)

Apple creates iPhone. Slashdot lapdog AC's like you say "It has no keyboard. Will never sell!" Sells untold millions, for billions of dollars, and now suddenly everyone makes an iPhone clone. You now say "But Android is better".

Apple creates iPad. Whiners like you criticize it as "Just an oversized iPod Touch named after feminine products". Sells untold millions, for billions of dollars, and now suddenly everyone makes an iPad clone.

Where Android licensees compete for scraps at the bottom of the barrel, Apple commands a majority share of all mobile profits.

Smart people have bought AAPL and profited handsomely. You on the other hand hope to bootleg Apps from the comfort of your parent's basement.

You're just a whiny little brat, kicking and screaming that you missed the boat. Apple does in fact do their own R&D, and from the looks of it, Apple does the R&D for Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and .

You cannot make any valid arguments to counter Apple's success so you resort to ad hominem because you know you really have no clue.

Re:The hyperbole is ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050418)

You're just a whiny little brat

..plus..

so you resort to ad hominem

..and the irony meter is pegged.

Drugs.. mmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049192)

Will it make me high? If not, im not interested.

Prepare for the price of gas to go up (1)

davidiii (1983894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049256)

This just sounds like yet another thin excuse for gas prices to go up.

Re:Prepare for the price of gas to go up (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049342)

Nah, gas goes up when demand goes up. As the market plunges, oil has actually declined because a US in a recession consumes less oil than a US with a strong, healthy economy. But oil doesn't need excuses - as China and the rest of the world continues to grow, so does non-US demand. And since the population of the US is actually rather small when compared to, say, China, the US economy will become less and less relevant to the price of oil.

Of course in any slide there's always a bounce because those who are short need to take profits at one point or another. Right now we're at around $81/bbl and yesterday we were in the high 70's. So it's bouncing at the moment. I wouldn't expect $100+ oil in the near future though. Oil should decline too until the slack in demand is picked up by the rest of the world. Of course violence (especially in the middle east) could change that overnight.

Apple needs oil (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049308)

Without a high-energy society, there is no Apple. Without plastics, there are many missing parts. Without diesel powered container cargo vessels, you must make your products locally for much more money. Without energy intensive semiconductor fab, there is no product. Without electricity the product is not powered. Most importantly, without high-energy freeing up labor, nobody can afford your device. They would be too busy plowing fields with draft horses.

Yet another stupid headline (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049354)

Apple makes much more than just software. iPhones, iPads and Mac's are not software. I truly hate blanket statements like this. All the happened was the market cap of an information technology firm exceeded the market cap of an oil company. These numbers reflect the value of the companies not the value of the underlying commodities.

Re:Yet another stupid headline (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049440)

Apple makes much more than just software. iPhones, iPads and Mac's are not software. I truly hate blanket statements like this. All the happened was the market cap of an information technology firm exceeded the market cap of an oil company. These numbers reflect the value of the companies not the value of the underlying commodities.

Apple does not make any of those devices. A company in China makes them. Apple supposedly designs them, and definitely Apple markets and distributes them.

Exxon does not "make" oil either. They're pretty hot stuff at finding it, and coordinating the work of subcontractors to pump it out, assuming the country owning the land allows them to work instead of using their own nationalized company (petrobras, etc). In a world of declining oil production, I'm not sure how useful Exxon is. Kind of like a middleman. Does transocean really need exxon anymore if all the worlds oil is already found, mostly remains in far away lands where exxon isn't allowed to work, and TO is already pumping it?

Re:Yet another stupid headline (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050026)

Apple does not make any of those devices. A company in China makes them. Apple supposedly designs them, and definitely Apple markets and distributes them.

Semantics is a poor argument. Does Ford make cars or just assemble them as the parts are made by non-Ford companies? You know what I meant but decided to be cute.

Exxon does not "make" oil either. They're pretty hot stuff at finding it, and coordinating the work of subcontractors to pump it out, assuming the country owning the land allows them to work instead of using their own nationalized company (petrobras, etc). In a world of declining oil production, I'm not sure how useful Exxon is. Kind of like a middleman. Does transocean really need exxon anymore if all the worlds oil is already found, mostly remains in far away lands where exxon isn't allowed to work, and TO is already pumping it?

It looks like you have it backwards; Transocean is an offshore drilling company and ExxonMobile is the producer. TO doesn't pump oil, they just drill holes to get at it. If all the oil was found it would be Transocean in trouble and not ExxonMobile. By the way, all the oil has not been found. That is why oil companies are spending billions searching for it.

Valuable != Important (1)

vandiemen007 (1035444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049358)

Don't confuse 'valuable' with importance. Wine costs more than water, but without water there would be no wine..and no us.

How many ipads fit in an oil barrel? (1)

chrisj_0 (825246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049360)

good ole google couldn't tell me but I bet it's a bunch.

Re:How many ipads fit in an oil barrel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049530)

1 bbl of oil is 42 gallons; 1 gallon is 231 cubic inches; so, one oil barrel could hold 9,702 cubic inches.

An ipad's volume is 0.34 in x 7.31 in x 9.5 in = 23.6113 cubic inches of volume.

Assuming the ipads stacked perfectly, and fit the dimensions of the oil container perfectly, you could fit 410.90 iPad 2's into a barrel of oil.

You're right, that's quite a few!

Bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049366)

How long until Apple becomes the poster child for its own little bubble of inflated value? I'm guessing the bubble pops whenever Jobs dies or steps down.

If I have any AAPL stock, I don't know about it, but the broker is burying me in prospectuses, so maybe I do have some via some mutual fund or whatever.

Re:Bubble (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049676)

This assumes it's an overinflated bubble now, and there are very few indications that it is. Given that it's P/E ratio isn't particularly out of line with other similar companies, there's not a lot to suggest that its value is heavily over-inflated at present - they make a metric shit-ton of money (and profit) on all those devices, and they've been selling more, and more, and more of them quarter over quarter and year over year.

Now, Steve Jobs stepping down / dying would certainly be a psychological shock, but there's not a lot to indicate that the market would be fundamentally left adrift by that happening - they have a solid line of products, they no doubt have several years of future revisions mapped out, probably several product ideas in the pipeline, and strong leadership still - all fundamentally good things for a company. I expect the stock will take a hit when he does step down (or pass away), but I suspect that will be fundamentally a self-correcting jitter.

You won't see the price truly take a lasting hit until one or more of the following becomes true:
1) Apple's margins start getting eaten into by competing products; so far, doesn't look like that's happening - Macs still make good profits-per-unit, and all estimates of iPod, iPad and iPhone costs also suggest high margins;
2) Apple's sales volume drops significantly, and for several quarters in a row; so far, doesn't look like that's happening, with quarterly increases and year-over-year increases for several years running now;
3) Apple's products reach a saturation point ("everybody who wants an iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac has one"), and it becomes apparent that they have no additional product ideas - new lines, or new models of existing lines - in their pipeline; Too early to tell if that's the case, but I suspect they have a few more tricks up their corporate sleeve.

Where does it leave our immune systems? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049380)

I wonder, though, where a treatment like this leaves the human immune system.

A vaccine spurs the immune system to generate antibodies, so that when we're actually infected by the virus, the antibodies are available to combat it. Our own immune systems do all the work.

This new type of treatment, however, kills off the cells that have been infected by viruses, so the viruses aren't able to use the cell's materials to replicate. As the cells die, so do the viruses. From the sound of it, the treatment achieves this without any assistance from the immune system.

So to put it bluntly, in a world where everybody pops a few anti-flu pills every time they get a little sniffle, what does the human immune system do all day? I can see two possible outcomes:

  1. 1. Humans mature with improperly-tuned immune systems that overreact to fairly minor variations, resulting in an increased instance of allergies and autoimmune diseases. (We seem to already be seeing some of this now, with the overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial agents in soaps etc.)
  2. 2. If the side effects of #1 are sufficiently bad for humans, it seems logical that over time, nature will select for people who have weaker overall immune systems. Can that be good?

Today (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049384)

And today apple was down over $10/ share while Exxon was up $.07/ share. And who knows what tomorrow will hold. Perhaps Sharpies will be more valuable than both. ;-)

Re:Today (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049760)

Neither of them will ever be more important than happiness.

Though a bit of oil and a mobile computer can contribute. :)

Re:Today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050322)

A 12 pack of sharpies would give more happiness than a tank of gas and an iPhone.

*Puts on opera mask, top hat and cape*
Beware SLEEPERS! Your Mous will be Stache'd!

Re:Today (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050582)

happiness is only important to people who value happiness.
And yes, money does, in fact, buy happiness.

Software? (1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049388)

Isn't it religion that's more valuable than oil, not software? Any time shepherd Jobs of the church of Apple releases another fatwa, the faithful flock follows and that's why the profits rose now above any other prophets.

Why is this news? Look at 1999 market cap... (1)

jhsiao (525216) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049396)

Back in 1999 (before the tech bubble burst), Microsoft was the company with the largest market cap. And they made less hardware then (this was pre-Xbox) than Apple does today.

They were over 2x larger than Exxon Mobil in market cap at the end of 1999.

Is ComputerWorld implying that back in 1999 Microsoft had "ideas" that were more valuable than Exxon Mobil?

Source: http://fortboise.org/top100-history.html [fortboise.org]

*PLATFORM* more valuable. (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049414)

Apple makes a majority [ipadjailbreak.com] of their income on iOS devices. They're making income on the combination of hardware and software. Pure "software" sales are a *VERY* small percentage of their income.

Very bad analysis of the situation (1)

DallasMay (1330587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049452)

Look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_corporations_by_market_capitalization#2011 [wikipedia.org] Now, Apple has moved to the top of that list, and MS has been a mainstay for a few decades now. How many other software companies are there, vs how many oil companies? The news here is not that Apple is the most valuable, it's that Exxon doesn't have the power in the oil markets that it used to have.

More important than oil (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049486)

Apple's mind-miners explore myriad complexities to develop and understand new technologies.

"New" technologies? What exactly has Apple invented here, apart from an OS taken from unix, applications written at no cost to Apple because they were done by others, touch screen technology that's been around on PDA's for almost 15 years, etc. Yeah they put it into a good looking package and built a good brand and marketed the crap out of it, but there's nothing exactly "cutting edge" here except for maybe the gross violation of your rights when they make you sign exclusivity contracts with third party cell phone providers.

Now, guess which company is more important. A company that obtains and produces a (relatively) cheap source of energy, or a company that produces a marginally different but very shiny communications/computing device?

Apple is fantastically over-valued and overbought, as anyone holding $400 Apple stock will tell you. I can just imagine the pain of the people who have been stopped out. Well what did you expect when you were buying the stock? Largest market cap != biggest money maker. Amazing revenue growth rates have to make you wonder how sustainable they are over the medium and long term. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Me, I will cover my shorts at $280 and re-assess.

Re:More important than oil (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050504)

Haven't you been paying attention? Apple invented the rectangle with rounded corners.

Re:More important than oil (1)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050520)

Please mod parent down.

Apple has a track record of creating compelling and very profitable "good looking package(s)" where other have failed over and over and over again. That may not rate as rarefied pure research, but it is a pretty astounding accomplishment.

Really, this is no less impressive than the Wright brothers building the first heavier than air flying machine. They figured out an approach that would fly pretty good and then better and better with careful, when plenty of other smart and better funded engineers could only build machines that crashed.

And, just like Apple, there was no particularly interesting technology that the Wright brother's created from whole cloth. At a pure technical and scientific level, the Wright brothers' rivals' efforts were similar or better in many or most respects.

The genius of the Wright brothers was not in inventing new technology. Their genius was in carefully and methodically discovering what were the key requirements to make a machine fly, and improving those incrementally until they succeeded.

Apple is much the same way. They do not throw cool technology into a bucket and brag about what great engineering went into that market flop. They see what the consumers want but do not have, and figure out what will be a good enough package to hit it just a few feet beyond the center-left field fence.

Apple isn't a software company (1)

Logic Bomb (122875) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049554)

Apple's products are hardware-software bundles. Apple sometimes sells updated software to use on hardware you already bought from them. They also are a vendor of content -- none of which they create -- with the goal of making their hardware-software bundles even more appealing.

Stupid exceptions that don't change my argument:
  FileMaker (a mostly-ignored Apple subsidiary)
  You can use iTunes on Windows to purchase music & video and never put them on an Apple device. This wasn't the goal of the iTunes Music Store, and doesn't make much money for Apple.
  The legions of 3rd-party products Apple sells online and at their stores have nothing to do with this.

Apple neither a software nor a hardware company (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050618)

Apple sells the Apple Experience. Everything else is just a delivery mechanism.

This is bad news (5, Funny)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049580)

what countries are we going to invade for software now?

Re:This is bad news (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050228)

Canada. We have high quality software developers up here, like EA.

BTW - its not that cold up here. You'll mostly like the temperature during your invasion.

Re:This is bad news (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050446)

Already doing it to Western Europe in the form of software patents and ever-increasing length of copyright. But I guess they call it "diplomacy" instead of "war".

Software trades oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049582)

So that makes software more valuable than oil!

Stupid (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049642)

1) Apple isn't a software company, its a hardware and media company.
2) Apple's stock rebounds quickly, so a large number of investors are trying to game that tendancy as the market drives the price down.

I've made a killing on Apple the last two weeks day trading the swings.

The Question Is +5, Informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049656)

although "Apple's mind-miners explore myriad complexities to develop and understand new technologies." ( should
read "Apple puts out more branded crap about which fanboyz and fangirlz uncritically buy" ),

will it BLEND [youtube.com] ?

Yours In Akademgorodok,
Kilgore Trout

Apple doesn't only make software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049754)

Since when is Apple just a software company? I'm quite sure they make far more off their consumer products than they do off of their software or service offerings.....

plastic ipad? (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049826)


Apple products made from plastic. Plastic is a byproduct of refined oil.

Ergo, Apple is dependent on Oil, so, in no way, will Apple, ever be more valuable than oil.

Not to surprising if you think about it... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 2 years ago | (#37049892)

Considering the fact that the majority of our computers, IDE's and compilers are powered by oil (or another related hydrocarbon product such as gas or coal whose prices are loosely linked), if the software you developed ain't worth the oil it took to write it, what was the point...

Tr0llkore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37049914)

way. It use3 to be

Of course (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050110)

Having a monopoly worths more than something with a lot of suppliers. Put that monopoly in worldwide basis, and with enough weight put in patenting whatever looks like built in the same planet as the ipad and you have a formula for success.

When the bubble on imaginary things (like patents and money) blows up, probably oil won't worth a lot neither.

Someone still taking Wall Street serious? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050572)

For real? I mean, I know, humanity doesn't learn jack from history, but when I see blunder after blunder after blunder from an entity, not only wasting time but also the money of millions, and I'm not even able to vote the jackasses out of their office, I guess the least I should do is to stop taking them serious.

Mind-miners? (1)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37050644)

Apple's mind-miners explore myriad complexities to develop and understand new technologies.

Geez, I think I just threw up a little.

Ridiculous Comparison, computer guys need to stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050754)

...to their knitting.

This is the most asinine comparison ever. Now people are taking this way too far in saying that Apple is a better company, or such a huge success story, for surpassing some arbitrary measurement that really has no relative comparative value.

For example, in the last 3 years Exxon has repurchased or dividended out more than $91bn in cash. Apple doesn't pay a dividend and hasn't repurchased any shares. Further, Apple is effectively levered 50% more current earnings than XOM through the P/E ratio. If Apple even misses earnings once that will get crushed.

XOM has a commodity that, while finite, will only get more valuable over time as it gets more scarce. While this happens, economics for luxury goods such as ipads will get compressed through less disposable income.

In summary, making ridiculous extrapolations of how Apple has done so well because it's now the "biggest company", only makes one look like a doof. What's sad is that it's now being perpetuated all over the web as tech pundits extoll the virtues of Apple because of this "achievement".

WMD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37050774)

If software is more valuable than oil, does that mean the government is going to lie about WMD to get more warez?

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