I just read an article that was absolutely fantastic.
It was by Paul Thurrott and he talks about the relationship between Microsoft and Apple and how Apple has recently become the dominant company.
And Apple, embarrassingly, has now surpassed Microsoft in every meaningful way possible. In May 2010, the company surpassed Microsoft’s market cap, and while the two briefly bobbed back and forth in the first half of the year, Apple has taken off like a rocket thanks to its soaring stock price. Microsoft? As has been the case for the past many years, the software giant’s share price has remained stagnant—a growth stock no more.
Then, in the final calendar quarter of 2010, Apple’s revenues of $26.74 billion surpassed Microsoft’s revenues of $19.95 billion, though Microsoft’s profit of $6.63 billion barely eeked ahead of Apple’s $6 billion. The die was cast, however, and eager Apple fans rubbed their hands in anticipation of a future quarter where Apple would financially leap past Microsoft for good.
That may have just happened. In the most recent calendar quarter (January to March 2011), Apple’s net income and revenues ($5.99 billion and $24.67 billion, respectively) handily beat Microsoft’s results ($5.23 billion and $16.43 billion, respectively).
And there’s reason to believe this is a permanent trend and not an aberration. Whereas Microsoft’s core markets are aging and even old-fashioned—desktop and server software like Windows and Office still account for 85 percent of the company’s revenues—most of Apple’s revenues come from product lines that didn’t even exist five years ago: the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. And while both companies are struggling to make the move to cloud computing—Microsoft through cloud-hosted versions of its legacy servers, and Apple via a coming consumer-oriented service called iCloud—it is clearly Apple that has the edge overall.