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The Almighty Buck Apple

Apple Passes $300B Market Cap, 2nd In the World 485

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-call-it-the-ibubble dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In May, Apple surpassed Microsoft in market capitalization to become the second largest company (by that measure) in the world. Today, with its shares riding high, Apple passed $300 billion in market cap, entering a club of two along with the still-gigantic ExxonMobile. And investors' targets could bring Apple beyond where Exxon is now (though Exxon continues to soar as well). Perhaps Wall Street is catching on that, despite the discontinuation of their underused Xserve, Apple is in fact becoming one of the key tech providers to enterprise, a position that even a year ago seemed laughable. If you consider the iPad to be a PC (which enterprise increasingly is), then suddenly you realize that Apple is expected to climb to 12% market share in 2011. Plus, of course, they have those little things called iPods, and iTunes..."
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Apple Passes $300B Market Cap, 2nd In the World

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  • Once it was said: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DWMorse (1816016) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:18AM (#34751080) Homepage

    "We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose." --Steve Jobs

    All Apple had to do was stop trying to climb the fence to play in Microsofts yard, and apply some ingenuity to marketing and manufacturing. They've done well in these regards. You don't need to be an iFanboi to tip your hat here.

    Apple will never replace Microsoft in the workplace, because they don't want to, there's not nearly as much money in it as replacing Microsoft in the home.

    • by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:46AM (#34751264)

      Apple will never replace Microsoft in the workplace, because they don't want to, there's not nearly as much money in it as replacing Microsoft in the home.

      Yeah.. but from the summary:

      Perhaps Wall Street is catching on that, despite the discontinuation of their underused Xserve, Apple is in fact becoming one of the key tech providers to enterprise, a position that even a year ago seemed laughable.

      That made me actually read the article and it does not really indicate that Apple has anything earth shattering for enterprise at all. I have not really heard anything either, hence the quietly I guess. All it talks about is how enterprise is "figuring out" how to integrate the iPad. I hardly see that as providing key technology to enterprise which is exactly what the summary and article claims.

      • Apple will never replace Microsoft in the workplace, because they don't want to, there's not nearly as much money in it as replacing Microsoft in the home.

        Yeah.. but from the summary:

        Perhaps Wall Street is catching on that, despite the discontinuation of their underused Xserve, Apple is in fact becoming one of the key tech providers to enterprise, a position that even a year ago seemed laughable.

        That made me actually read the article and it does not really indicate that Apple has anything earth shattering for enterprise at all. I have not really heard anything either, hence the quietly I guess. All it talks about is how enterprise is "figuring out" how to integrate the iPad. I hardly see that as providing key technology to enterprise which is exactly what the summary and article claims.

        They have some "earth shattering" stuff, (compared to Microsoft) when it comes to the server market. But, as you noticed, the "underused" part is where the problem currently lies. IBM had hard drives since the 1950's. Pretty earth shattering - but it didn't mean a darn thing in the computer world - not for years to come.

        Slowly, Apple makes inroads into various markets, and is largely succeeding in numerous of them (smartphones, tablets) while being profitable (yet making inroads much much slower) into othe

      • by Culture20 (968837)
        Apple doesn't just ignore enterprise; they're openly hostile to enterprise. Lack of true Wake On LAN on iMacs (any not an Xserve, actually), and removal of the Xserve line of rackmount servers. These will be stand-out reasons for any company to completely ignore Apple. Company phones of the future will be Android, BB, or WinMo7 based.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          How is that a troll? People used to buy Apple Workgroup Servers only because making a PC be a Macintosh server was difficult by design; as proof I give you NeXT's ability to deal with Windows and even Novell shares at a time when the Mac couldn't even speak to a Lan Manager server with additional software (pre-Dave.) Then they bought Xserves because they were actually good. Then Apple cancelled them. Further, OSX still has less remote management goodness than Windows. And only the newest macs (only some hig

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @09:42AM (#34753096) Homepage Journal

        All it talks about is how enterprise is "figuring out" how to integrate the iPad. I hardly see that as providing key technology to enterprise which is exactly what the summary and article claims.

        iPad buying has become a frenzy. Companies are making them fit all kinds of places they don't fit well so that they can look forward-thinking by following everyone else.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Apple will never replace Microsoft in the workplace, because they don't want to, there's not nearly as much money in it as replacing Microsoft in the home.

      Except that they're not, not really. At least on browser stats Windows is still in the 90%+ range. The iPod wasn't aimed at anything MS had. The iPhone wasn't aimed at anything MS had. Perhaps the iPad, but even that doesn't replace the PC, it makes for a good viewing board but most people will need something with a keyboard. If Apple really wanted to replace Microsoft they'd have to change their Mac lineup considerably, drop prices and go for volume. It doesn't help to compare like for like when you can ge

      • Re:Once it was said: (Score:4, Interesting)

        by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @04:47AM (#34752000)

        Except that they're not, not really. At least on browser stats Windows is still in the 90%+ range.

        And your statement there actually pretty well covers what he meant. Windows is so high on browser stats because they're used in business everywhere –same reason IE 6 is still high on browser stats. By comparison, apple grabs say 10-15% of the home market (yes, it's a guess, but probably not far off), and more importantly, grabs 60-70% of the profit that can be had from the home market.

        That's called apple winning without MS needing to lose.

  • by _merlin (160982) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:18AM (#34751088) Homepage Journal

    Buying stock in a company that doesn't pay dividends is just gambling - you're buying in the hope that you can find a chump who'll pay more to buy it off you at some point in the future. You can only make money by selling the stock. Apple isn't unique in this regard: most major tech companies and oil drilling companies don't pay dividends. But to me it just looks like a house of cards. You're just gambling on investor confidence in a company.

    • Well it's a bit more complex than that. Your post makes it sound like the company valuation is totally arbitrary, that's not actually the case. How the company is valued in the future will depend on whether it experiences growth, whether it's products continue to be successful in the marketplace, etc, as well as simply attitudes about it.

      Apple has had huge growth over the last 10 years. So people that bought the stock a while ago were betting that the company would be more successful in the future than when

      • In 2008, Apple hit just under $200/share before dropping to $100/share at the end of the year. If you look at the actual numbers from 2007 to today, they've been consistently getting better and beating expectations. They had the growth, they had the products, attitude and attitude alone cut it in half. For almost a year, the same line was marched out: "It's a recession and people will cut back on Apple products." (Apple posts blowout quarter while everyone else hemorrhages cash and Dell uses intel kick
      • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @02:06AM (#34751358)

        Actually, it is totally arbitrary. The market cap is the number of shares times share price. The share price is whatever you can get someone to buy it for. It theoretically moves based on company performance, but there's no rules requiring it to. And it moves on rumor as much as on information. Hell, you have people at CNBC, the home of the wall street cheerleaders association speculating if the market will move based on how new york teams do in the playoffs. Yeah, sounds like it's really based on performance.

        If you buy a stock for anything other than its dividend, you're investing in the world's biggest ponzi scheme. You may be willing to pay a premium if you think the company can grow it's dividend, but the only thing worth investing for is the yield and it's ability to maintain that yield.

        • by ravenspear (756059) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @02:10AM (#34751384)

          Actually, it is totally arbitrary.

          When you are talking about the 2nd largest company in the world, no it isn't.

          Sure there are some stocks that have a high price just based on hype and not much else (the tech bubble taught us that).

          But you do not get to a $300B stock without real metrics showing real growth and success. Apple has that. No other stock in Apple's class is pure hype.

          • by rahvin112 (446269)

            But you do not get to a $300B stock without real metrics showing real growth and success. Apple has that. No other stock in Apple's class is pure hype.

            Says the person with no perspective! Look back 20 years, you find a dozen companies that exceeded $200 Billion in market cap and are now worth significantly less if they are still around. In fact the best example is Cisco. Topped out with the highest market cap in the market during the dotcom bomb, had real earnings, real growth and much larger sales than Ap

    • Depends on the stock really. Would you consider a buying stock in a company like Berkshire Hathaway (which also doesn't pay a dividend) to be gambling? Personlly, I'd rather put my money in BRK-A rather that AAPL.

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        I'd consider them both fairly risky. Both are cults of personality built around their CEO. When they die/step down (and Buffet is old) the stock will tank.

    • . But to me it just looks like a house of cards. You're just gambling on investor confidence in a company.

      I don't think folks have confidence in Apple. They have confidence in Steve Jobs, because like him or not, he has always delivered over the years.

      Now, if he goes into a hospital for a pimple on his butt, or an ingrown toenail, that stock is going to tank really fast.

      It would be nice if he could mentor a protege. Just so folks would know how things will continue when he's gone.

      • It would be nice if he could mentor a protege. Just so folks would know how things will continue when he's gone.

        That's been going on with Tim Cook for years. Tim is in a pretty good position to take over Apple once Steve retires at this point. He already did briefly while Steve was out for surgery.

    • Why does someone have to be a "chump" to pay more for it? If the company's earnings have grown 10x then the company ought to be worth about 10x. Those earnings... do you realize they belong to the shareholders even if they just accumulate in the company's bank account? Dividends are a "feel good" disbursement for companies that aren't supposed to grow. If you want to invest in dividend paying companies go for it. Or you could buy apple and any time your holding is worth more than your basis, just sell some
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > Why does someone have to be a "chump" to pay more for it?

        Because they're not actually going to get any money outside of selling the stock to someone else (see also: "no dividends").

        > Those earnings... do you realize they belong to the shareholders even if they just accumulate in the company's bank account?

        Unless the company loses them, gets sued, goes bankrupt, spend it on a foolish merger with a company that has lots of debt, is involved in fraud, bad accounting, and lots of other risks I can't th

        • Apple has been trading for a very long time at about 15x trailing earnings ex cash. Do you think that is high for a growing company?

          If you wanted to argue that, say, AMZN is overvalued that is an easier case to make. But seriously I can not think of a single profitable, growing, stable company that is as _stingily_ valued as apple.

          Instead of hand-waving, why don't you actually tell us which smarter investments you have actually made that have fared better since before the dip. Keep in mind Apple was one

    • by ejtttje (673126)
      To add on ravenspear's comment, remember that part of stock valuation is based on how much money they have in the bank. So Apple may not pay out a dividend, but instead reinvest their profits, and the stock price will rise to reflect that you have a share of these additional assets. It's almost as if you received a dividend and automatically reinvested it.
      • by aliquis (678370)

        I'd like to look at it in three ways.

        1) Personally I see the dividend as the reason to invest at all, and as such it needs to pay out more than a bank account or you're stupid (?) since it's much riskier. Now people can of course pay more for the stock compared to the current earnings of the company because they assume earnings will improve in the future and hence give a reason to pay out a higher dividend by then.

        2) Then we have the companies with lots of resources, either cash or invested in say buildings

    • That would be true if the great majority of investment dollars came from people who do not invest based on fundamentals, but that supposition is incorrect. I'm not saying that the folks on Wall Street (or their programs) know everything, nor that they are the best barometer for a company's market value, but they invest in order to make their clients (and themselves) money. If every investment banker ignored fundamentals and just made the gamble that they wouldn't be the last one holding the potato, then n
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Buying stock in a company that doesn't pay dividends is just gambling - you're buying in the hope that you can find a chump who'll pay more to buy it off you at some point in the future. You can only make money by selling the stock. Apple isn't unique in this regard: most major tech companies and oil drilling companies don't pay dividends. But to me it just looks like a house of cards. You're just gambling on investor confidence in a company.

      Why are these ignorant comments consistently modded +5 insightful? Did they stop teaching economics in High School?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_valuation

    • Uhh, so you'd be better off owning Microsoft stock? They pay dividends...
      • by _merlin (160982)

        I would say that buying Microsoft stock is an investment that you expect to make some return on in the form of dividends. Whether that's a sound investment is another thing entirely. It's not an absolute gamble as investing in Apple or Dell would be.

    • by boxwood (1742976)

      ummm no.

      It just means the company you're investing in has decided to re-invest their profits into expansion. If their expansion plans succeed and is profitable the company will grow in value. If they piss it all away then the company doesn't grow and the stock does not increase in value.

      Its no more of a gamble than investing in a company that pays dividends. The company pay dividends could just as easily fuck things up as a company that is growing. If that happens the company doesn't make a profit and you d

    • by Kjella (173770)

      That makes about as much sense as saying someone investing in cash is gambling, you're putting it in the bank in the hope that you can find a chump who'll give you something more valuable for it at some point in the future. If you want dividends, sell a bit of your stock each year. I can assure you that the relation between stock price and dividends is 1:1, if you increase the dividends you lower the stock price and vice versa. Of course this means you'll be diluted, but that is natural since everyone else

    • Buying stock in a company that does pay dividends is buying stock in a company that literally has more cash than they know what to do with.

      This is not good, long-term, if the company is a major player in a fast-moving technology sector. It means they have no vision for the future and no insights on how to leverage their own assets, so they're just "giving the money back to the stockholders," to quote Michael Dell's advice to Apple.

      You have only to look at Microsoft under Ballmer for a perfect example of th

    • by icebike (68054)

      Time to sell.
      It's been a good ride.

    • Dividends are usually not guaranteed either (unless we're talking about preferreds), so I don't see why anyone who thinks the stock market is a "house of cards" would feel safer holding dividend paying stocks. By your logic aren't you still a chump for giving a lump sum of money away so that it can be slowly given back to you in small uncertain increments?
    • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @03:14AM (#34751666)

      that's a bit far reaching. Using US dollars is gambling that the value won't tank overnight. In fact, holding money in anything (even gold) is gambling that whatever that thing is won't suddenly depreciate in value through no action of yours.

      The management of a company are ultimately investors, they can either reinvest profits into new products and grow the company, or pay out to shareholders if they figure they can't do better than the shareholders with that money. The 'worth' of a company depends on how much it honestly discloses, revenue, profits,total assets, vs costs and liabilities, and then what you expect it to be worth when you want to sell it. Lets return to the US dollar analogy. If you get paid in dollars, you are hoping that the buying power of those dollars will be unchanged when you go to spend it. But a government that lies about its financial situation (Greece), or screw it up badly (US, UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain) can significantly (and sometimes relatively rapid) change the value of their currencies, in 12 months the EURO declined about 9% vs the dollar. The pound is down I think 91% since 1971, and more than that since pre WW2 (in the case of the pound there are even a handful of days where the government decided to revalue to pound overnight).

      Apple is just a company with some revenue. Whether it's worth 300 billion dollars or not is up to potential investors to decide, but it has a revenue of 65 billion dollars or so and profits of ~14 billion, but that 14 billion reinvested in the company should provide more than what 14 billion dollars would provide if paid out as a dividend and invested by shareholders. You can read their public filings as much as anyone else. If you think they're lying, or the risk of them lying (or pulling a BP and getting themselves on the hook for 40 billion dollars) exceeds their ability to pay, then you probably don't want to buy.

      So, as with any company, whether they pay a dividend or not. Do you think that if when you would want to sell shares, will it pay out (dividends + value of the sold shares) more than you could get else where, or less? Apple does shiny well, it's popular with lots of important people, and they're a market leader in several areas. I don't personally think they're worth 300 billion dollars, but i don't think gold is worth 1400 bucks an ounce either, but that's irrelevant, they're both worth something. The bernie madoff frauds of the world are supposed to 1, get caught, and 2 have their assets siezed (which impressively looks like ~50% of the money is going to be recovered so far).

      Stock guys have to be good at figuring out where the market is going to move, regardless of so called 'fundamentals'. Is apple really worth 200 billion dollars? That's irrelevant, what matters is if people think it's going to be worth 200 or 300 billion, and moving your money accordingly based on when you're willing to sell. If you want to invest for the next 30 years, then apple by itself isn't a good plan anyway, hence you should you know... diversify.

    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      I know other people have beaten this point to death, but Apple is a highly profitable company. They could issue dividends if that's what their shareholders wanted. Their P/E is around 20, so they would beat inflation. Their operating margins are in the 40% range, so if they shut down all their new R&D and marketing and all that stuff you don't seem to value, they could issue huge dividends (while they go out of business, of course, but you would still probably get back what you put in). The stock is

    • by tm2b (42473)
      It's not so simple as purely being about confidence. Apple *does* have fundamentals behind an intrinsic value - not to mention a vast war chest of cash. Those fundamentals gives an approximate floor to the value of the stock, as long as they are making money. Above that, you are right - there is a big buffer right now of confidence regarding market position in emerging mobile computing markets.

      Mind you, fluctuations from irrational *pessimism* can temporarily drop a stock even below the floor of cash
  • As the iPhone and iPad continue to succeed, Apple neglects the original iPod more and more. Especially anything with a hard drive. I miss the days of dedicated music players.

    • by DWMorse (1816016)

      I wouldn't call it neglect, per say. I would say "Trying not to one-up our own devices." Why drive down sales of your more-expensive-to-own products?

    • I don't.

      I used to juggle an iPod Nano(and before that, some sort of Sansa player), a cell phone and a DS.

      The only thing i have to say is...

      "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein.

  • by the_humeister (922869) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:23AM (#34751116)

    Market capitalization is only one metric. There's also gross revenue (which Wal*mart wins) and net profit (which Exxon wins again). At current prices, AAPL still seems a bit overpriced compared to its peers.

    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      Like what? The P/E ratio is still relatively low. (21.75 from quote.yahoo.com just now.)

      • by afidel (530433)
        For a Blue Chip in a down economy anything over 15 is quite high.
      • 21.75 is low? Try 13 for IBM or Microsoft, 11 for HP, etc. Now clearly they're not RedHat (100!), but still a bit overpriced. Remember back in late 1990s/early 2000s when the entire tech sector was in 20+ P/E territory? They were overvalued back then, and they all fell eventually.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        20+ is quite high and requires a very high growth rate in future to maintain it. Apple is overvalued for there current income/profit as the share price has a considerable amount of future growth already priced in, basically any minor wrong step could easily see 20-30% wiped off their shareprice in a very rapid timeframe (and a wrong step just has to be good instead of astronomical growth).
      • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @02:37AM (#34751506)
        21.75 isn't low. The tech industry typically has unreasonably high valuations due to the tendency of the industry to capture the imagination of know nothing investors.

        Right now, MSFT is trading at an 11.86 P/E ration and Google at a 24.21, but MSFT despite all the ill will I personally have against them, has done a better job over time maintaining its income and I don't expect that to change any time soon.

        You'd have to be an idiot to think that APPL is genuinely worth about double what MSFT is.
        • by dhovis (303725)

          You'd have to be an idiot to think that APPL is genuinely worth about double what MSFT is.

          Why? They have similar revenue, but Apple makes a much higher profit. Don't get me wrong, Microsoft still makes boatloads of money off of Windows and Office, but the compitition for them is Linux and OpenOffice/GoogleDocs. They will be constantly competing against free, which will keep squeezing their margins and therefore their revenue and their profit. Apple is in a position where they make hardware that allows them to charge a premium. Apple on the other hand, keeps very close to the leading edge an

  • it is a bleak landscape of conformity and despair.
  • Market cap? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:29AM (#34751152) Homepage
    High market capitalization doesn't mean anything other than people are interested in owning a piece of this company. It doesn't mean that the company is successful, or even profitable. It's a common fallacy (some would argue, THE common fallacy) that stock price has anything to do with the underlying company's intrinsic worth.

    It's the same problem that sacked the mortgage market. The system is set up so that the bits of a company, called stock (or the mortgage) are entirely unconnected to the supposed underlying item of value, which is the company itself (building, property). With the stock market, people don't expect company dividends (anymore), and, even more bizarre, the supposed owners of the company aren't liable for any company crimes. Market capitalization is as meaningful as Twitter trends are.

    That being said, it's interesting from a purely social point of view.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109)

      I've always been a bit puzzled by why the owners of a company are so utterly sheltered from damage cause by or crimes committed by that company.
      It gets waved away with claims like "well of course then people might not want to invest in those companies" which while true would also be the point.
      If to protect themselves people demanded reasonable proof that a company was behaving ethically and within the law before investing in it then we might see companies breaking the law less and behaving more ethically.

      If

      • by jjohnson (62583)

        You're not off scott free. If you're a shareholder in a company that causes everyone in a small town to get cancer because they're dumping pollutants in the water supply, your investment will drop in value when the class action suit gets certified and the company is looking at billions of dollars in payouts. All the incentive you need is there to actually examine the company and dump your stock if you fear they're misbehaving.

        There's no proof available a priori that the company officers will act ethically

        • the difference in risk between investing in a company which has the potential to drop to zero value and a company which has the potential to drop to a massive negative value due to some really massive fuckup is zero.

          So if you're going to take the risk on investing in a company which might get such down for shady dealings or might kill people might as well go for one which might kill a LOT of people since the potential payoff could be larger.

  • by mindstormpt (728974) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:29AM (#34751156) Homepage

    Especially fanboys.

  • "The moment came Wednesday when Apple, the maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads, shot past Microsoft, the computer software giant, to become the world’s most valuable technology company."

    Now the politicians, regulators etc will be looking for their pound (or two) of flesh.
    Being #2 isn't so bad really.

    • by boxwood (1742976)

      Only if they're doing something illegal.

      Yes MS had to pay a bunch of lobbyists to get regulators off their backs, but that was because they were actually breaking the law. They were illegally using their monopoly in the OS market to squeeze out competitors in other markets. We bitch about how bad IE is but we're damned lucky that MS let it stagnate so long. Otherwise we'd all be forced to use the Microsoft Internet, which could only be viewed with MS software that was copyrighted and patented to prevent any

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:54AM (#34751304) Homepage Journal
    You have to wonder if Apple is going to allow Lion Server to be virtualized on non-Apple servers. This would go a long way to help Apple dig out of the hole they made for themselves in the enterprise world when they canceled the XServe without offering a *REAL* replacement(no Mac Pros and/or Mac Minis are not replacements!). Allowing Lion to be virtualized on non-Apple hardware would give Apple more of a presence in the datacenter without having to maintain a "bulletproof" server hardware engineering team and a large number of parts distribution center. However Steve hates the whole "mac clone" market so much that he seems to be willing to screw his customers over rather than let them run *JUST* the server OS on non-Apple hardware. I still don't know why he didn't opt to allow OS X server to run on "certified" oracle servers, it would have been a win-win for both companies. Apple would have been able to free up the resources previously devoted to the XServe without screwing over some of their most ardent supporters and Oracle would have gotten both sales AND a ton of free advertising for their server division since Apple is currently the media darling and everyone would be reporting on said relationship.....
    • Other than selling hardware, I don't even know if there's any money to be made in enterprise datacenter iron. It looks expensive, but the costs to fulfill SLA support contracts must be hell.

      Still though, I wouldn't say no to Xserves running newer Xeons running Lion Server.

      • Well the cost structure from the company's perspective, is very different for personal computers vs. servers. Namely personal computers have very little after-sale cost, a little bit of labor for support and cost for replacement parts, which do not have to be fixed in a very short time frame. Servers however have significantly higher after sale costs because you need to make sure you have enough parts on hand and in the right locations at all times. Keeping a large number of rapidly deprecating parts aro
  • Every 2-3 years Apple has been releasing a product into a brand new space now. People are currently focused on the iPad. But the question every investor wants answered is what comes next and how successful could it be? Apple is already over the iPad while other companies are still trying to copy it.
  • Apple has been sitting at (or around?) 4-5 billion in revenue for the better part of this last decade. They have great products, and a modest growth in sales each year, but as many have pointed out, most of the ipod/iphone sales are replacements, or selling to new (young) people just entering the market. Don't get me wrong, Apple sells fantasic products (I keep eyeing the iPad as a replacement to my dead-tree edition to the NYT), but IMO their sales will plateau soon unless the global market for Apple produ

    • You are insane if you think Apple stock will see 2009 prices again. And that's solely factoring in the smartphone growth that is EXPECTED, not counting the bonanza Verizon will bring them...

      There is no plateau in sight, except possibly for desktop sales. Laptop sales are exploding, iPad sales are exploding, smartphone sales are exploding. Apple has strong products in each of those areas, and they are obviously not sitting still.

      And as for "modest growth" I'm sure lots of other companies would kill for

  • Enterprise? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aslag (1884052)

    If there's one thing Apple is not, it's enterprise. iPods, iPads, iPhones and even mac OS are all consumer-grade products designed with the aim to fuse gucci-like sex appeal with simple usability. Where does security, stability, and manageability fit into this? Selling style, luxury, and limited functionality (for the sake of ease of use) has always been Apple's niche and it's worlds away from enterprise-grade software and hardware.

    Consider HP SANs or the Solaris operating system: these are highly-manage

    • Old News (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @02:55AM (#34751602)

      Where does security, stability, and manageability fit into this?

      The thing is, those were never really that distinct from consumer needs. We have all seen what happened when the "enterprise grade" Windows was used by the world. It's pretty obvious the enterprise for all the bluster doesn't ACTUALLY require the level of security you call for, as much as they might wish for it.

      Of utmost importance for enterprise users is security. It seems that Apple often botches this. Consider just the security problems with iPhones that have been discovered in the last year. We learned that iPhone email security is farcical and that their on-disk encryption doesn't really work

      If you read to the bottom of your own link, FDE works in iSO4.x. The device is properly encrypted, and can be remote wiped as needed.

      It's as good as any other device out there; better than most and I would argue better by far than Blackberry since company data doesn't have to go through a RIM server.

      Dependability, too, is often not a feature of their products

      Oh right, that's why the Apple consumer product ratings are so high. Because they are so "unreliable". Well sir then please explain how so many companies stick with POS Dell boxes that fail if you sneeze and sometimes if you don't. I know, I had to deal with them for years on end.

      Your whole post is just so much trolling a view of Apple from way back in 2005 or so. It ignores the very real use of iPads across the enterprise, the substantial management features and Microsoft integration in place today. In short, it totally ignores the reality of modern IT departments and the needs of business units in real companies.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @03:02AM (#34751616)

      If you mull it over, you'll realize that consumers actually require a HIGHER level of security than do enterprises. Enterprises can afford to be a little lax because they have full-time people dealing with security issues that arise, and maintain boxes.

      Consumers have noen of that; they have only themselves. Would not the blood of any corporate IT manage run cold at the thought of a system that had to be maintained by a user, for years on end? But that is exactly what happens with hundreds of millions of consumers. Computing devices aimed at them must be FAR more solid and robust than any product targeting an enterprise, if they are to work well for any length of time.

      Furthermore employees are a lot easier on equipment than a home user, a home user moves stuff around and takes it with them. Office equipment generally vegetates in one location, and is handled with more care.

      And that is why the enterprise is starting to adopt Apple gear, because Apple has had to build software and hardware secure and robust enough for real world use, not coddled managed enterprise land. In the end business people want solutions to work and it simply cannot be overlooked anymore that Apple gear is providing real solutions that work for everyone.

      • by pla (258480) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @07:32AM (#34752438) Journal
        And that is why the enterprise is starting to adopt Apple gear

        Cite, please (from a non-Apple press release)? Because I call this complete and utter fiction.

        Make no mistake, Apple has a "presence" in enterprise because a lot of people have iPhones (banned from connecting to the corporate email system unless you have the words "executive", "chief", or "vice" in your title), and iPods (banned from running iTunes or storing any form of media library on corporate PCs), and these people use them in and around (but unconnected with) their jobs.

        But actual use by enterprise, I just don't see it. Apple occupies the same niche today in the corporate world as it has for the past 20 years - Sometimes the marketing folks will get a pass to use Macs at their job, which may or may not save them time, but at the cost of wasting IT's time when they need help converting to "real world" formats to send out-of-house three times a day.
  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @03:17AM (#34751676)

    A friend asked me to help get their new Christmas MacBook Pro to print photos with a 8-yr-old Canon printer. First, I go to the Canon website looking for drivers. Canon doesn't have them for download for that model anymore, though, not even for Windows. Googling finds the 'download-driver' websites offering drivers...but they are for older OS versions and won't download without the obligatory 'signing up' etc. Frustrated, I plug the printer usb cable into the macbook and expect to see a pop-up screen about finding new hardware and where should it look for a new driver but...nothing. Click through to 'printers' and...it says the printer is not only recognized but ready to print. Yeah, sure. Click on the iPhoto app and select 4x6 borderless print and...in a few seconds out pops a beautiful print. I'd been so conditioned by the Windows way of doing things that I expected it not to work with OS X 10.5. What does this have to do with the TFA? Only that Apple has got it going on right now. Someone else might beat them but it won't be because Apple wasn't offering good products...the someone else will have to be offering much better products and that is going to be very, very difficult to do.

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @04:55AM (#34752020)

      Apple decided a long time ago when OS X was released) that they wanted to remove the "driver headache" as much as possible - so they ship a massive bunch of printer drivers with OS X, including drivers for ancient stuff (you can even use old LaserWriters), and if they don;t have a driver for it, there's a strong chance they can get it going under CUPS, which also ships ready to run. This does mean that you have 250-300MB of drivers sitting in /Library/Printers, but HD space is cheap, and you can delete them if you want to slim down your install (you can also choose to trim the list during install time if you do a fresh installation).

      It's one of the many things I like about OS X. I can plug in a USB drive and have it mount right away, ready to use. Plug the same drive into a Windows box and it has to install something. It only takes a few seconds, but I'm unsure what it's doing - surely it's just a USB mass storage device? Plug in my other memory stick, from a different vendor, and it has to install something else!

      Lots of little touches like this all across the OS make it nice to use. I have used Win 7, XP and Vista (ugh to Vista) and they work well enough - there's nothing wrong with them per se, when they're working fine, but I prefer OS X.

    • by Spliffster (755587) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:06AM (#34752210) Homepage Journal

      Nice isn't it? One year ago we bought a couple of macbook pros for some employees. Up until then, I haven't had much experience with apple computers. I entered the hostname of our high volume network printer, osx detected it propperly over the network and configured the appropriate drivers. It even detected the additionally installed hardware modules, a thing the vendor's driver for windows is not capable of (duh?).

      Later i found out who is the main contributor of CUPS; Apple. The "Common Unix Printing System" is really really userfriendly once it gets the propper user interfaces and hardware detection (which OSX provides). CUPS with gnome is not bad but can't be compared to what OSX is capable of.

      Cheers,
      -S

    • Hey that's my mantra in the classroom over the past 15 years (I teach Education Technology at a community college). People who don't like Apple are generally trying to apply Windows logic to a device that doesn't work like Windows.

      I had the exact same scenario (and it was even an old Canon printer) with my in-laws. They tried for 2 days to install drivers and software. I went over, plugged the printer into the computer, opened the file and printed it.

      But you know, the "it just works" thing is all marketing

  • by water-and-sewer (612923) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:58AM (#34752202) Homepage

    Hate to gloat, but ...

    Hey Ballmer, How you like THEM Apples?

  • by superdude72 (322167) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @08:04AM (#34752544)

    Does anyone else remember when AOL had a market cap of $222 billion, because the Internet was the new big thing and AOL, with its acquisition of Netscape and Time Warner, was sure to dominate that space forever?

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/fortune/1002/gallery.biggest_losers.fortune/8.html

    Yeah.

    If Steve Jobs so much as sneezes Apple loses 20 percent of its market cap. Not because he's so essential, but because investors want to get out ahead of the gigantic Hype bubble deflating. We've seen this before. When will people learn?

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