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IBM Unseats Microsoft As Second Most Valued Tech Company

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 years ago | from the big-blue-gets-even-bigger dept.

IBM 296

First time accepted submitter FlatEric521 writes "The BBC is reporting that for the first time since 1996 IBM's market value has exceeded Microsoft's. The values cap a sustained period in which IBM's share price has moved steadily upward as Microsoft's has generally been in decline. Of course, Apple is still the #1 company by far."

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What about Microsoft owning part of Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574550)

Does that count on MS's value?

Re:What about Microsoft owning part of Apple? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574576)

IBM is worth more to the U.S. government then INTEL, Apple, and Microsoft combined.

Re:What about Microsoft owning part of Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574602)

You're still a stinking nigger.

Re:What about Microsoft owning part of Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575060)

Isn't that like saying your a wet water?

Re:What about Microsoft owning part of Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574608)

They own none of Apple.

Re:What about Microsoft owning part of Apple? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37575350)

They did once. If they'd held it that bit would double their value now. But they lacked vision, then as now.

Re:What about Microsoft owning part of Apple? (2)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37574614)

It doesn't count because they don't own any of Apple at all.

They did purchase $150 million of non-voting stock as part of a court settlement many, many years ago, but they sold it a long time ago.

Re:What about Microsoft owning part of Apple? (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 3 years ago | (#37574640)

Even if they did, it would count and in no way contradict this.

And so Anonymous Coward learns of the concept of the "convergent series".

right. now they just own everyone else (1)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37574694)

"say, i couldnt help but notice you are trying to sell a mobile phone. all sorts of people might want to sue you over that, you know, what with patents and all. why dont you pay us, say, 10% of your income, and we can arrange it sos nobody patent sues you?"

if google can turn around motorola (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574556)

perhaps they will take 3rd place.

Damn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574598)

I was going for second (most valued) post, but I missed it.

There aren't that many threads where "second post!" is almost on topic...

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574616)

Am I bothered? Do I look bothered?

Re:Who cares? (4, Funny)

Locutus (9039) | about 3 years ago | (#37574668)

Steve, the legs of that chair sticking through your office window say otherwise.

LoB

And yet none of them is worth a... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574618)

bucket of warm piss.

Which can be used for at least some useful tasks, though I understand it's not effective against jellyfish stings.

Re:And yet none of them is worth a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574708)

Source of Ammonia if nothing else

Re:And yet none of them is worth a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574748)

How can we make leather without any piss?

Poor old Microsoft (-1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 years ago | (#37574624)

They boasted how they were the little guys and how they beat Apple and even IBM can not be sustained to such a powerhosue monopoly and awesome company.

Apple's market cap is now bigger and so is their rival IBM. MS needs to increase its sales to survive. Offices still using Windows XP, IE 7, and Office 2003 many years later and refusing to upgrade is hurting sales and their venue big time. MS entertainment finally made a profit after losing billions and Bing is still losing money.

MS is in trouble. They are a shadow of themselves and can't compete with themselves of MS old as their older products are good enough with so much tie in that customers can't leave.

Re:Poor old Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574676)

MS doesn't have innovative growth plan. Instead what they do is wait and watch which next computing trend is going to get big and they go after it (i.e. Bing, Xbox, smart phone and tablet with multi touch, enterprise services, zune) The problem is once they're way behind it is very hard to get enough market share and a lot of these investments are not giving enough ROI.

Re:Poor old Microsoft (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37575044)

Part of that is that neither IBM nor Apple have been under DoJ supervision for the last decade, which tends to put them at a bit of a competitive advantage when it comes to pushing for growth. MS got slapped for going for other markets beyond Windows and Word. Granted they were going at it in an anti-competitive manner, but MS historically has only known how to grow via those sorts of sleazeball tactics.

That being said, Apple did have the good fortune of having a decade where the DoJ didn't believe in antitrust regulation where they were allowed to engage in questionable tactics to grow their business.

Re:Poor old Microsoft (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574678)

I always find this a little absurd. Steve Jobs said it best: "We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose." The same basic sentiment goes here. The fact that Apple and IBM are doing better than Microsoft doesn't mean Microsoft is in trouble. They're making more money than ever, despite slashdot predictions of doom and gloom continuing since they made a fraction of what they do now.

That doesn't mean Microsoft isn't in trouble but there's really nothing about "not being the richest in the world" that means "dying".

Re:Poor old Microsoft (1)

networkzombie (921324) | about 3 years ago | (#37574686)

Do you really believe that dribble or are you trying to be modded up? You're saying their old products are so good no one is buying their new products? Do you know how much profitable software they sell besides OSs and Office? ERP systems are a huge market for Microsoft and still a small part of what they sell. Poor Microsoft indeed.

Re:Poor old Microsoft (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 3 years ago | (#37574802)

Microsoft isn't in trouble. And as for hurting sales... Sales haven't ever declined, not a single year -- ever. Go spread your FUD elsewhere, the actual numbers are easy to see if you look.

Re:Poor old Microsoft (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 years ago | (#37575034)

Numbers I see from www.cnn.com and others show PC sales lagging. Offices have been cutting back on upgrades and using older versions of software. I have not seen a single article stating that sales are actually increasing from MS in a long time. That was true 10 years ago, but not today.

In 2000 and earlier people upgraded WIndows and Office every 2-3 years. Now the standard life cycle is well over 5-7 years with people hanging on to Windows XP for life. The cost accountants in these organizations have noticed and they like it. Windows 3.0 did not have anything near 40% of the market when XP came out, likewise 10 years later 40% still have XP etc. Those numbers say a lot and equal lost sales.

Also please do not count the sales of new pcs as proof that Windows Vista is catching on, when corporations wipe them and use their old Windows XP volume license. Even if you include those numbers desktops and notebooks are on a big decline. The Ipad is part of that reason and so are some smart phones.

Re:Poor old Microsoft (2)

ppanon (16583) | about 3 years ago | (#37575212)

In 2000 and earlier people upgraded WIndows and Office every 2-3 years. Now the standard life cycle is well over 5-7 years with people hanging on to Windows XP for life.

And the ironic thing is that Microsoft is the chief reason why that happened. They switched to Software Assurance after XP and Office 2003 came out and then, with a steady source of income from people buying in each year, the pressure was off and they took forever to put out Vista and Office 2007. Then of course Vista had horrible performance and there was that whole Vista Ready sticker fiasco. Thus decision makers held off on upgrades, so that by the time Windows 7 came out, companies had already been making do with no changes for half a decade, They had stayed off the upgrade treadmill and the world had not ended.

Re:Poor old Microsoft (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about 3 years ago | (#37575284)

It's not about sales. It's about profit (and profit growth). Wal-Mart generates far more revenue than Microsoft, but Microsoft has a market capitalization that's currently about $30 billion higher. Wall Street is concerned about Microsoft's potential for future profit growth, and that's not wrong. For example, Microsoft is going to find it increasingly difficult to collect its high Windows taxes in light of devices such as $199 Amazon Kindle Fires running Android.

And apple's market cap is going to collapse (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 3 years ago | (#37574626)

So IBM will be number 1 soon.

Really though. This isn't news for nerds.

Re:And apple's market cap is going to collapse (0, Troll)

redneckHippe (744945) | about 3 years ago | (#37574636)

"This isn't news for nerds." And neither is Slashdot.

Re:And apple's market cap is going to collapse (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 3 years ago | (#37574836)

Apple's P/E ratio is only 15. On what exactly do you base this prediction?

-jcr

Re:And apple's market cap is going to collapse (2)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37575126)

Apple sells upscale products at a premium to a market that is being eviscerated by a massive economic downturn. I would expect them to take a serious hit.

Re:And apple's market cap is going to collapse (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 3 years ago | (#37575372)

Recently economic downturn has not translated into a collapse in purchase of premium mobile devices. Nokia used to do fine. The reason seems to be that people who can't afford a new car, for example, get their premium kick by buying a new phone. I'm not saying there won't be an effect on Apple; I'm just saying don't count on it. It's more likely that the downward influence will come from Android.

Re:And apple's market cap is going to collapse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575132)

Apple's entire business runs on iPhone and iPad and iPod, the latter being less important these days. Apple is basically Nokia of smartphones and tablets. So you just have to look at Nokia or RIMM to see what will happen to Apple. Unless Apple creates the new iPhone creation that everyone wants, it will be replaced by generic copycats or some other super-gadget of the future.

IBM's business model is not about one gadget. Even Microsoft is much more diversified than Apple.

Re:And apple's market cap is going to collapse (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about 3 years ago | (#37575318)

Apple controls the dominant application and content ecosystems for both mobile and tablet devices. Nokia (especially) and RIM never accomplished that. People don't buy iPhones and iPads only because of the hardware, excellent though it is. They buy those devices for the Apple and non-Apple software solutions and content. Regardless, the only application ecosystems that are even remotely competitive to Apple's in these two device categories are Android's, not Microsoft's.

Re:And apple's market cap is going to collapse (1)

MakinBacon (1476701) | about 3 years ago | (#37574844)

So IBM will be number 1 soon.

Really though. This isn't news for nerds.

No, but it is stuff that matters, which I believe is the second half of slashdot's former slogan.

Apple is a tech company? (0)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 3 years ago | (#37574632)

All they make are fancy consumer oriented things. They don't qualify as a tech company anymore than Nintendo does.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (1, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 years ago | (#37574642)

Macs are professional machines. The Power macs cost about $3,000 and are used as scientific workstations, and advanced video editing. Smaller businesses use Macs in Europe and run Office on them. Especially businesses that do design.

True they are leaving their roots but Macs are popular in business and where I used to work at the Anchorage School District, they have like 30,000 macs in use in both servers and classrooms.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 3 years ago | (#37574754)

Too bad they pretty much ditched the server market.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (0)

Pence128 (1389345) | about 3 years ago | (#37574822)

That was back when Macs had PowerPCs to differentiate them. Now they're just overpriced PC clones. Schools have always had a hard on for macs that I've never understood. Do they get discounts or something? $200 off a $1300 $800 computer?

Re:Apple is a tech company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574892)

I imagine school's love the one vendor handling everything, just talk to apple if you have a issue with a Mac.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575040)

Actually, schools get quite good discounts, on the theory that every Mac in a classroom influences a whole lot of kids to be more likely to buy a Mac once they graduate and have money.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (2, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | about 3 years ago | (#37574882)

And a PC that runs rings around an Apple-branded PC costs about 2k$. Seriously, when I built this computer, I cut a lot of corners, and it was still far higher in every spec than the best Apple had on the market. You're paying easily 30-40% of the price just for it being an iDevice.

"Macs are popular in business"

Graphics, music, and some small forays into movie production (although the real work still happens on Windows and the processing on Linux). Business-business, that being, engineering, finance, healthcare, point of sale, etc, still are Windows or Linux only clubs. For very, very good reason.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575240)

You built a custom all-in-one PC really bro? Do tell.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575338)

You'd be surprised.

(Disclaimer, I work for big blue but do not speak for them and my views are my own etc etc)

As I said in the disclaimer, I work for big blue, and I see more and more macbooks in use around the place. Now that IBM is out of the manufacture game, people have a little (not a lot) more choice of hardware to use for your main client machine. Mac's are becoming more popular. It's still under 5% and mostly in the management tiers (we engineers usually get some massive quad-core thinkpad), but they're definitely there.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (1, Insightful)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about 3 years ago | (#37575340)

Apple's machine runs Apple's software. Something else doesn't. The value is in the software (and the content), customers recognize that, and so does Wall Street. It's really quite simple. The number that Wall Street assigns to the value of a company is far, far removed from the number of gigahertz in that company's products. Apple has found multiple winning formulas in its products, while Microsoft is struggling to deliver compelling products right now.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (0)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | about 3 years ago | (#37575408)

Graphics, music, and some small forays into movie production (although the real work still happens on Windows and the processing on Linux). Business-business, that being, engineering, finance, healthcare, point of sale, etc, still are Windows or Linux only clubs. For very, very good reason.

Funny, here in the middle of Silicon Valley, I see a whole host of MacBooks. I guess we don't do any real work like engineering. At least in the software world, they can't be beat. Since the vast majority of people developing for Linux have dedicated build/test machines, all you need is a thin client for ssh access. Add in that the Mac can run your collection of bash/perl/python/whatever scripts locally if need be, and it's the ideal dev machine. All this and you don't have to spend pointless hours forcing Linux to work correctly with your laptop. Yes, it's possible to make a functioning Linux laptop, but it doesn't "just work" like a Mac. And guess what? My company (and many others) would gladly pay the extra money for the Mac because it pales in value compared to the wasted time of engineers.

PS - Thank you. I've turned to near hatred of Apple over pretty much everything they touch with iOS. Thanks for bringing back the good ole early 2000s era Mac bashing and letting me release my decades-cultivated Mac fanboy. Who knows, maybe for old time's sake I'll install an OS X point release and come post about how snappy it feels.

Re:Apple is a tech company? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574654)

They are no less a tech company than Microsoft. They both make hardware, they both write and maintain software and an multiple operating systems. They both sell to consumers and business.

I am a pharmacist and own my own pharmacy. The entire pharmacy runs off mac (6 workstations at the moment). I can't do that with a Nintendo.

Apple is #1? (2)

Pence128 (1389345) | about 3 years ago | (#37574656)

Why doesn't anyone else take their laptops and add an aluminum case and 50% markup?

Re:Apple is #1? (2)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37574706)

Because for some reason everyone else thinks that they way to be successful is to make their laptops as cheap as possible in a race to the bottom. There are some other nice laptops out there, but almost no (none?) other all-metal case laptops - it's seen as too expensive.

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574770)

That's because it is too expensive. At least, for the 90% of people out there that are not using Apple laptops. They'd rather get the $300 laptop that they hand down in two years when they go out and buy their next $300 laptop.

Yeah, I know, "resale value" blah blah...90% of people don't care. They'd rather save the money up front and not have to gamble on a future return selling it on Ebay...especially when the rest of that 10% of users all have the same idea. There was just an article today about making sure you hurry up and list your iPhone before the new one comes out because the market's about to get flooded.

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574868)

There is no resale value when the battery needed to be replaced at the end of 2-3 years. That's going to cost $100+ and by then the machine is "slow" etc...

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575406)

Because for some reason everyone else thinks that they way to be successful is to make their laptops as cheap as possible in a race to the bottom. There are some other nice laptops out there, but almost no (none?) other all-metal case laptops - it's seen as too expensive.

Nah, not too expensive, too heavy.

(See Sony vaio TZ2)

Re:Apple is #1? (1, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 3 years ago | (#37574764)

That's a very good question, and it should lead you to consider that maybe "aluminum case and a 50% markup" isn't all there is to Apple's success. But it probably won't.

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

Pence128 (1389345) | about 3 years ago | (#37574866)

You're right, they'd also have to make an operating system that wasn't created by trying to use floppy disks as toilet paper.

Re:Apple is #1? (1)

jjohnson (62583) | about 3 years ago | (#37575098)

What does this even mean?

Re:Apple is #1? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574886)

Maybe in the PowerPC days, but now a Mac laptop (to use the OPs example) is nothing more than a PC laptop with an aluminum case and a markup (I won't claim 50%, as it varies depending on the model and the PC maker. Let's look at what a modern Mac has

x86 CPU? check
A complement of ports? check, though usually the Mac is missing those commonly found on PCs like SD cards, CF, Dock expanders, expresscard etc.
ATI or nvidia graphics card? check
LCD? check
Trackpad and keyboard? check
LiIon battery? check
Optical drive? check, though Macs still don't have Blu Ray.
Runs Windows and Linux? Check

In fact, no matter how it's spun, there is *no* difference between a Mac and a PC laptop of equivalent specs (talking logic and features, not design), except the Mac will be several hundred dollars more expensive. What's the difference?

An aluminum case. Nothing more, and even that differentiation is disappearing as PC manufacturers make laptops with the same case and no markup, meaning you pay for a glowing plastic logo.

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574932)

There are differences including build quality and EFI. Some PC laptops use UEFI but it's not the same. In fact it's a headache that apple uses a nonstandard EFI setup that boots off of hfs partitions instead of fat (for boot loader).

Not to mention you buy a Mac for several reasons including the OS, the quality of the hardware and maybe some vanity.

Also, not all Macs have optical drives anymore. Apple is getting rid of them and they didn't want to license a blu-ray video player so they didn't bother to ship a blu-ray drive. You clearly haven't used a Mac if you think they're identical to a PC.

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574960)

where is the PC equivalent of a macbook air for hundred of dollars less?

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575106)

For casual browsing, nothing. For gaming, the m11x. Smaller, equal/better CPU, dedicated GPU, bad panel, worse build quality.

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575298)

The m11x is not hundreds dollars less, yet weighs more. If you make it more comparable with a solid state drive, it's more expensive than the top-of-the line macbook air.

Re:Apple is #1? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37575078)

I thought about getting a Mac last time I needed a new laptop. Their cheapest model was nearly 3x as expensive as an inexpensive Thinkpad and the one I ended up with was fully upgraded for much less than the Mac. I ended up spending a bit over $600 for the Thinkpad and I would have had to pay $999 for the MacBook air and I would have had only 2GB of RAM rather than the 4GB I ended up with.

They do include some nice touches, but I couldn't personally justify spending an additional $400 for what was basically just style.

Re:Apple is #1? (1)

smash (1351) | about 3 years ago | (#37575390)

To me, multitouch, OS X and the all metal case is easily worth a few hundred bucks.

Re:Apple is #1? (1)

smash (1351) | about 3 years ago | (#37575386)

To some people, OS X is important. I'd pay several hundred dollars if i could run OS X on my home PC. The fact that I needed to upgrade, so just bought a macbook pro and got nice aesthetically pleasing hardware is a bonus.

I have blu-ray (burner) in my desktop PC at home. I've used it about 3 times in the past 2 years. No blu-ray is no great loss.

Re:Apple is #1? (0)

bky1701 (979071) | about 3 years ago | (#37574908)

Of course it isn't what is responsible for Apple's success. The one and only cause of that is marketing. Marketing like no marketing has ever been accomplished before. What other business has the same level of blind following from their users as Apple? None I can think of. Factual and ideological arguments alike seem to have no effect on them, because the reason to buy an Apple device is cultural. iAnything is a status symbol, and therefore, actually becomes more valuable as the price goes up.

Of course, it helps that "Macs are good for graphics|music|grandma|etc" and that they are supposedly easier to use, but it is being a status symbol that makes Apple the most valuable company in technology, not better technology.

Re:Apple is #1? (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | about 3 years ago | (#37575164)

I use a computer that has a unix command line, comes pre-installed with Apache/PHP, runs office and photoshop natively.... And just works.

Really..... I dont mind paying over the odds for a computer that does this.

Re:Apple is #1? (2)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 3 years ago | (#37575384)

Marketing explains initial buy-in, but not repeat customers. If Apple's success were only marketing, they would have to attract ridiculous amounts of new customers to replace the ones fleeing the platform. That's not the case. Last I read, the iPhone has something like an 80% retention rate. The iPhone 5 is the most-anticipated phone out there, and Apple has said nothing about it. Clearly, people must buy their products for more reasons than Apple's heavy marketing push.

For myself, I tend to buy Apple products because I know the build quality will be there, and I like OS X. Can I spend less for a faster machine? Yup (this is especially the case when you're coming up to a hardware refresh). Will it run OS X? Not without a lot of hassle and research to make sure that everything will be compatible. When I was in high school, that kind of thing was fun, but now I just want to get to work and do other, more enjoyable things. Will another PC have the same top-notch build quality? Not in that price range.

(That's ignoring the form factor. I know many people are attracted to the iMac for the simplicity of needing only one cord for a fully functional system. I don't know of any PC manufacturers that are currently offering this.)

Status? The only Apple device anyone ever sees me with is an iPhone, and that's hardly a status symbol--almost everyone I know has one. The iPhone was a status symbol when it first came out, but not now. Apple may be a status thing for some people, but if so, that's ridiculous.

Other companies don't understand Apple, and so they think they can charge as much as Apple without doing all the other things that make Apple products such a joy to use for the average person. They are slowly learning that this isn't the case.

Many posters on Slashdot don't understand Apple, and so they post ignorant messages about Apple only being successful because of marketing. Their marketing is good. It's what gets lots of people to try their products for the first time. But marketing isn't what makes people repeat customers.

BalmerMicrosoft Loozes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574662)

Not Microsoft but Balmer's Microsft has lost the race.

Very soon [B]Microsoft will be 50th in the world as the rate of decline accelerates.

Bye bye M$. Bye bye Seattle Campus. Hello India. Dear Lord its so hot there ... come on ... give us a break. We'll melt.

#$%%%^^^^&DFDF^^^%%^^##EE$%%%^^^5%%%

Stock market fluctuations (5, Informative)

bjourne (1034822) | about 3 years ago | (#37574672)

Apple is the largest tech company followed by IBM and Microsoft, if measured by how much the stock market thinks each company is valued at. It is a completely meaningless metric that does not say anything about either company. The stock market is detached from the real world and how well a company's stock is doing is not proportional to how well that company is doing.

shhh goldman is listening (1)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37574702)

there are 'people in washington' who might not approve of your 'tone'.

Re:Stock market fluctuations (0)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37574714)

In other words "now that Apple is on top, the metric is meaningless". In the years when Apple was still a modest size (in terms of market cap) it was always touted as how much they "didn't matter" on the world stage.

Funny how the perceived value of a yardstick changes depending on which measurement comes out on top, isn't it?

Re:Stock market fluctuations (2)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 years ago | (#37574860)

Yeap, because there is a great anti-Apple conspiracy out there.

Or maybe Slashdot is a pretty diverse place, and it always has a group of people who thinks that particular metric is meaningless and another group who thinks that metric is valuable. (Plus plenty of people who don't care either way.)

And maybe you just think that the attitude has changed because you feel violated at any perceived attack upon Apple.

Or maybe not. Maybe there is a vast anti-Apple conspiracy and I just don't know about it because I haven't been let in on it yet. If so, where do I apply. A high ranking conspirator position would be appreciated. ;)

Re:Stock market fluctuations (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37575084)

I don't recall people using that metric previously. MS was the largest company as much by market cap as by install base. The latter being of great concern to most folks that cared about it at all. Market cap is just how much you can convince people you're company is worth and unless you're buying or selling your own shares it's a meaningless metric.

Re:Stock market fluctuations (4, Insightful)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about 3 years ago | (#37574724)

If you believe in rational markets -- I do, if the time horizon is long enough -- the market is simply valuing the respective companies according to the net present value of their expected after-tax profit streams. (That's an oversimplification but only slightly.) Looking at profit growth [fool.com] , IBM has outpaced Microsoft for several years running now. If the market simply extrapolates that trend forward, at some point IBM's and Microsoft's valuations had to cross.

Re:Stock market fluctuations (1)

houghi (78078) | about 3 years ago | (#37575114)

If the market simply extrapolates that trend forward, ...

That is one big if. Especially when you talk about long term.

Re:Stock market fluctuations (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about 3 years ago | (#37575250)

Yes, it is one big if, but it's an if for both companies. Nobody has a perfect crystal ball, but it's simply inevitable that valuations flip when one company (IBM) consistently delivers superior profit growth compared to the other (Microsoft). That's particularly true when what forward-looking information we have suggests that Microsoft's twin franchises (Windows and Office), representing the majority of Microsoft's revenues and profits, are continuing to become progressively less relevant as predominantly non-Microsoft mobile and tablet devices supported by predominantly non-Microsoft cloud services and sold at non-Microsoft prices gain marketshare.

Re:Stock market fluctuations (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 3 years ago | (#37575320)

While I agree with you in general, there are some type of stocks I would never invest in, like, say, airlines. They always seem to be going out of business, and yet the brand lives on and on (most of the time).

Re:Stock market fluctuations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574840)

What to make of this?

IBM now faces bankruptcy over big calculator - By Danny Rubenstein
http://www.campustimes.org/2011/02/17/ibm-now-faces-bankruptcy-over-big-calculator/

Re:Stock market fluctuations (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574856)

I'm sure Apple and its billions of dollars in cash and ever increasing profit and incredible branding are completely unrelated to the real world.

Stock prices reflect future, not today (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37575082)

Apple is the largest tech company followed by IBM and Microsoft, if measured by how much the stock market thinks each company is valued at. It is a completely meaningless metric that does not say anything about either company. The stock market is detached from the real world and how well a company's stock is doing is not proportional to how well that company is doing.

Stock prices are not meaningless, they are simply misunderstood and misused. They are not a measurement of how a company is currently doing, they are an estimate of how a company will be doing in the future. The current state is just one of several variables that goes into that estimate. Regrettably when an estimate reflects a relatively large change in either direction, good or bad, speculators pile on and inflate or deflate that price. Apple is far more vulnerable to such speculation than IBM. As suggested by their respective beta's, 0.7 for IBM and 1.3 for Apple.

While far from perfect stock prices are meaningful in a normalized form like the P/E ratio. Apple at a P/E of 15, IBM at 14, Microsoft at 9, HP at 5, ... You don't see anything meaningful or reflective of the real world in these numbers?

Perhaps I'm old fashioned but for current health I like metrics based upon cash flows. A little more difficult to engineer than EBITDA.

Re:Stock market fluctuations (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 3 years ago | (#37575296)

Apple is the largest tech company followed by IBM and Microsoft, if measured by how much the stock market thinks each company is valued at. It is a completely meaningless metric that does not say anything about either company. The stock market is detached from the real world and how well a company's stock is doing is not proportional to how well that company is doing.

Bullshit. Then that would mean Joe Blow could open a company on Monday and have it be worth $300B by Friday's IPO.

Sorry, things don't work that way. A company's value is based on the information that is out there, how well people analyze, how well that corresponds to reality, plus hype or lack of.

So yeah, there can be a HUGE fudge factor in any stock price not to mention fraud. Hell, the future is also unpredictable which causes one guy to value stock differently than another, as well as their understanding of the industry/markets. But to say there is 0 correlation is the type of head-in-the-sand cynicism as well, demanding nothing less than utter perfection in order for a metric to prove it's worth.

It's the same type of absolutism that will say spedometers are worthless because the tires can sometimes spin, giving a wrong value, and that it won't tell you anything at all about your vertical velocity if the car were to drop into a 100ft sinkhole all of a sudden. Therefore it should be tossed out.

One simple way to show this (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 3 years ago | (#37575326)

Calculate the effect of the iPhone 5 being banned from europe vs the next Galaxy phone from Samsung. This battle is raging right now. For Apple, this is a major part of their business, it brings in a lion share of their profit.

For Samsung? They got plenty of other ventures, a block will hurt their bottom line but not in any significant way. Samsung is larger then Apple in many ways BUT not that much larger, it is just far more diversified.

It isn't fair to say Apple if a bubble stock because Apple isn't to blame for how much outsiders are willing to pay for its shares but during the bubble companies with promise were valued over companies with results. Had an ordinary factory turning out a steady profit for several centuries and wanted an investment during the internet bubble? NOT INTERESTED, burning through investor capitol like it was bonfire night, that was the ticket to get the investors piling their cash on the fires.

Apple if of course not doing that at all but what is its value based upon? A very narrow product line that depends on an economic climate in which people are willing to splurge.

Now whether this is a successful strategy depends on what you think the economic crisis is having and going to have. SOME seem to think that ALL people will feel the pain but this hasn't been the case. The crisis has hit hard but Apple is doing very well indeed. The real result of the crisis seems to be that the divide between have's and have not's is increasing. The iPhone buying bankiers got their social wellfare benefits and the factory workers have to sell of their house to pay for it. The rich not only kept their money, they got more of it. More to spend on more gadgets while the poor got less but they already didn't have enough to buy them anyway. So, some will steal them, getting the rich to buy even more...

Meanwhile poor Samsung has to actually pay its employees decent wages and run factory after factory with middle class (No republicans, middle class does NOT include people making 250.000 or more per year) workers...

Valuing Apple high makes more and more sense, since the valuing is done by the rich who got their wellfare check over the working man's back.

Apples stock will only crumble once the poor of America realize that the American Dream is the opiate of the masses and rise up. And that won't happen. Apple got EXACTLY the right business model for the USA. Poor Americans.

For the first time since MAY (5, Insightful)

md65536 (670240) | about 3 years ago | (#37574674)

Re:For the first time since MAY (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 3 years ago | (#37574862)

This is the last time it happened. It just took that long to filter through the Firehose.

Re:For the first time since MAY (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about 3 years ago | (#37574902)

Hey, it is the firehose not the neutrinohose.

Prospering After Its Founder (4, Interesting)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about 3 years ago | (#37574682)

It's extremely difficult for a major company to sustain its business leadership after its founder leaves. IBM was fortunate they had a son at the helm who was every bit as smart as his father. After the son the company lost its way but then found a new, better path after huge, painful adjustments. That's the exception, though. Apple had a near-death experience losing Steve Jobs, but the founder returned and put Apple back on track. It'll be interesting to see what happens now that Tim Cook is in charge, but we won't know the impact for several years. Likewise, Microsoft has yet to prove it can prosper in its post-founder era, and that experiment has been running a lot longer now. True, Ballmer has been with Microsoft a long time, but he's no Bill Gates, Thomas Watson (Jr. or Sr.), Steve Jobs, or even Lou Gerstner/Sam Palmisano.

Re:Prospering After Its Founder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574824)

Gates could easily come back if he desired. He's what, 56? I recently read some memo he made back in 94 regarding the web and in it he had a lot of what's happening today, including tablets, cloud services, web browser as OS metaphor, etc. Really MSFT is arguably responsible (thru the PC) for the web as we know it today, despite IE being so hard to make look good with the same web pages that also work on Firefox. They made the market. Apple is getting some of it but they are a consumer products company. Anyway, my point is that Gates could come back if need be. Microsoft is a money machine that was purposely hobbled to avoid getting broken up in anti trust. They can turn the money back on, I guarantee it.

Re:Prospering After Its Founder (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | about 3 years ago | (#37575038)

So you're saying Windows ME and Vista was on purpose?

Re:Prospering After Its Founder (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#37574938)

In my opinion it's actually the opposite problem at Microsoft. Judging by the way the company acts I wouldn't be surprised to see that the desk calendar on the top execs desk is still the one from 1997. Microsoft has yet to seem to come to the realization that it's biggest competition no longer comes from within the company but from outside. The past decade at Microsoft has pretty much been the top execs trying to empire build within the company and completely ignoring outside threats. As such Windows Servers market share has eroded significantly(mostly as users switch to Unix), their mobile strategy was until recently a hodgepodge of incompatible platforms, and their last OSs claim to fame was that it wasn't nearly as terrible as it's predecessor, as it continues to lose market share to OS X and Linux, both of which Ballmer has dismissed as being essentially irrelevant despite their continued success.

Things are finally starting to change at Redmond(for instance the Windows and Office UI is going to be much more consistent in Windows 8, theoretically), but it might not be enough to pull MSFT out of it's slow decline.

Re:Prospering After Its Founder (2)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about 3 years ago | (#37575366)

No, a consistent user interface is not going to be enough. WebOS has a consistent user interface. Microsoft has a business model problem, and that's tough to fix. Application services are becoming more Web-based (cloud-based if you prefer), and Microsoft's Internet Explorer is no longer particularly popular. It's no problem running Safari, Chrome, or Firefox, mobile or tablet, to access the Web. (In many respects it's a better experience than IE on Windows.) Microsoft doesn't control much content distribution, doesn't control the dominant application ecosystems for mobile and tablets, and hasn't extended its Office franchise much less dominated in those dominant mobile and tablet ecosystems. (And those mobile and tablet ecosystems are doing just fine without Office, thanks.) On the back end, Linux dominates in the delivery of cloud-based services, not Microsoft. There are lots of business model problems here, and they only seem to be getting worse.

Re:Prospering After Its Founder (1)

houghi (78078) | about 3 years ago | (#37575154)

What about all the other big companies that have no founding father at the helm? That would mean a lot more companies like chemical companies, energy, banks, ...

I would say it is harder for a small company to do so, yet there are many that do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_companies [wikipedia.org]

Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574816)

"Of course, Apple is still the #1 company by far."

Would'nt have expected that in 1999...

Take into account (-1, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37574948)

Say what you want about IBM, Microsoft and Apple, but only one of those three companies had a strategic alliance with the Nazis.

All companies do bad things, but building automated systems for the Holocaust is taking it to a whole 'nother level.

Re:Take into account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37574980)

Only one of the 3 was around at the time... :/

Re:Take into account (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 3 years ago | (#37575064)

I love how you personify companies as people, much like countries do. I ask you to name a single IBM employee that was in the company at the time. I'd actually be somewhat skeptical if there are any active employees that were alive for said event.

Re:Take into account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575396)

But it's interesting how companies want to be considered persons, with all the rights thereof (but none of the responsibilities, of course). It cuts both ways.

Re:Take into account (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37575090)

Just out of curiosity, what precisely does that have to do with anything? Are individuals that were involved with the company back then still running it? Is there even a single employee working there that was employed by IBM at the time?

It's about as relevant to IBMs continuing operations as Henry Ford's known support of the Nazis.

Re:Take into account (2)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#37575134)

Microsoft and Apple simply didn't exist at the time, so that is an unfair comparison. Knowing that you want to be a fair person, I ask you this... What countries have Microsoft and Apple refused to do business with because of human rights violations?

Predict "activist shareholder" knee-jerk reaction (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 3 years ago | (#37574994)

In the form of "Microsoft either needs to move everything else to India, or O/S, Office, and development tools should be split apart and individually sold off to enhance shareholder value. We can call what is left DEC."

Re:Predict "activist shareholder" knee-jerk reacti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575104)

"We can call what is left DEC?" Last I heard, Compaq got what was left of DEC. Then HP bought out Compaq.

Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575198)

There's got to be an internet porn company bigger than IBM? CISCO would have gone under 10 years ago if it wasn't for internet porn.

How transient dominance is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37575278)

Not that long ago, Cisco had the highest market cap in the world. Fame is transient in the high-tech world. Screw up one generation of products, and you're history.

Valued is far from the right term (1)

mevets (322601) | about 3 years ago | (#37575346)

Monied might be more appropriate. I doubt that either MicroSoft or IBM are "valued" by anybody. They are simply players.

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