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Apple vs. Microsoft, By the Numbers 296

CWmike writes "It's a matter of opinion which company makes the better operating system or is likely to grow its smartphone market share. But numbers don't lie — or exaggerate. A little less than a year ago, Wall Street reached a Microsoft vs. Apple milestone: for the first time, Apple's corporate value surpassed Microsoft's. What has happened since? With Apple due to report its latest quarterly earnings on Wednesday — Microsoft reports its numbers next week — we look at some recent numbers, as well as data over time."
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Apple vs. Microsoft, By the Numbers

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  • Yeah, that's gonna happen.
    • Sure, it's gonna take off... in a garbage truck.

    • Agreed. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:31PM (#35874462)

      I'm going to have to agree. I don't know anyone who is planning to get (or is excited about the possibility of getting) a windows phone. Add the fact that many (most) companies are now supporting iOS and Android on their corporate networks, and what you come up with is a market already filled with devices superior to anything Microsoft could offer. No one is going to willingly downgrade to a windows phone.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        No one is going to willingly downgrade to a windows phone.

        Unless, say, the mobile side-game [] for one's favorite Xbox 360 game is Windows Phone exclusive.

        • That's the problem I see with WP7 getting more marketshare. MS is trying to appeal only to consumers who are their current customers. It's not trying to get more general consumers. Is Xbox Live integration a good feature? Yes, if you already have it. If you're talking about my grandmother who has doesn't care for a "YBox" or "PlaySituation" or a "Whey", it's no good for her.
      • I dunno, in an oligarchy like we have now, you have this twisty spread of Rock Scissors Paper.

        We know all of what evil MS was capable of in their prime, so now their humility looks like "we can't pull our tricks, so we'll smile a little."

        So then you dance to the "Rebel Company" aka Apple. You spend a while debating "dominant vs rebel". Then you consider the Android Clones.

        I know what MS is, I feel like Tech needs a little bit of a jolt.

      • Re:Agreed. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by terjeber ( 856226 ) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @05:37AM (#35878292)

        No one is going to willingly downgrade to a windows phone.

        Just for the record, I upgraded from iPhone to WP7 this year. A little by accident. Developing for mobile I have to keep tabs on what goes on, so I have an iPhone 3GS, a Galaxy Tab and I got a WP7 phone just before Christmas. I was not expecting it to be my main phone, which at the time was the iPhone, so I just got the cheapest they had, the LG.

        I was immediately impressed with the development environment which is at least a generation ahead of Android and even more ahead of Apple (gawd I hate Objective-C). I doodled some apps. Worked on it for a while. I found my self grabbing the WP7 phone more and more and suddenly I found I preferred it over the other two.

        Does the phone have shortcomings? Fewer now that the first update is out, but sure, it does. It is still a significantly improved user experience over iOS though. Given what we saw at Mix, the Microsoft lead over Apple in phone usability will take another significant leap forward. Honestly, nobody innovates on the phone like Microsoft at the moment. It took a while to get started, but as some of the other Microsoft teams, the WP7 team is world class with a great product.

        Sadly I think a number of developers, particularly of the ilk that reads /. are making judgements mostly on their own superstition. Microsoft of 2011 is not Microsoft of 1999. There is a significant improvement, and many Microsoft products, like C# - which has jumped far, far ahead of Java now, .NET MVC and others, are really quite good. In my current job I integrate JBoss and Microsoft solutions. Working in Eclipse on Linux is a huge step backwards compared to VS2010 on Windows.

        Before concluding I am a MS fanboi, I have been working almost exclusively in Java since early 1997 and was part of one of the very early companies to make serious money on a commercial Java product. In the beginning we had to carefully wrap our Java stuff in C front-ends to make sure our customers didn't notice it was Java. If they had, at the time they would have rejected it, since everybody "knew" at the time that Java was too slow to use for anything real.

    • by oztiks ( 921504 )

      Bottom line: Apple has been by far the superior investment over the past decade. Next: Revenue

      Bottom line: Apple's fiscal year 2010 revenue edged Microsoft's, $65.2 billion to $62.5 billion. (Note: Microsoft's fiscal year is July through June, and Apple's is October through September.)

      Bottom line: While Microsoft still generates more profits than Apple, the gap has narrowed significantly. If current trends continued -- a big if -- Apple would likely top Microsoft's profits in a couple of years.

      My Bottom Line: Microsoft is still more profitable therefore the value of the company is higher but less desirable to buy in to because it has so many shareholders. Apple went through a growth spurt because of its mobile device sales and if you had stocks back then whoopty doo for you. On the flipside the future hold uncertainty since everyone keeps pointing out that Microsoft is expected to beat Apple in marketshare and Android has already started killing it in the market.

      So is the TFA

      a) trying to rub it

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

        My Bottom Line: Microsoft is still more profitable

        A company stock price is based on among other things the expected growth of the company. Apple is growing faster than MS.

        On the flipside the future hold uncertainty since everyone keeps pointing out that Microsoft is expected to beat Apple in marketshare

        Even if you do believe that someone can magically predict the future, MS makes a whopping $12 on each WinMo license sold. Apple makes a $265 profit on each iPhone sold.

        and Android has already started killing

  • No (Score:5, Funny)

    by theweatherelectric ( 2007596 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:19PM (#35874386)

    But numbers don't lie — or exaggerate.

    That's a lie — and an exaggeration.

    • The main thing that numbers (or at least the people trumpeting them) exaggerate is their own importance. That is to say, for example, "X OS outsells Y OS on Z type of platform, so X wins!" To which the retort is, "Well, Y OS earns ten times the revenue, so Y OS wins!"

      People like to use car analogies (Yugo vs. BMW), but I've recently decided that, at least in the mobile market (I know, off topic, but related), a better parallel would be a comparison with restaurants. These days, anyone but the most iro
      • Apple has been doing very well since Steve's return, especially in the last ten years or so, but there has been a handful of flops to various degrees:

        Mac G4 Cube
        hockeypuck mouse
        magic mouse
        Dalmatian & flower power iMacs
        Motorola ROKR
        iPod socks
        iPod Hi-Fi
        Ping .Mac/mobile me

  • Meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by geek ( 5680 )

    Apple stock is way over priced and has been for a while. Microsoft on the other hand is on the decline in almost every way. Not sure I really care about either company.

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by getNewNickName ( 980625 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:33PM (#35874470)
      Overpriced compared to what? Compared to Microsoft? Apple has year-over-year EPS growth numbers that are over twice as high as Microsoft's. Stock valuation is based on expected future earnings growth. If you said that Google or Amazon are way over-priced compared to Microsoft you would have a legitimate argument since their earnings growth thus far has only matched Microsoft yet their P/E ratio paints a different picture. Let's focus on facts instead of vague hand-waving.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Apple would have to quadruple their revenue to make their revenue meet their market capitalization. Does that not sound overvalued to you?

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Informative)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:37PM (#35874502)

      It's P/E is not extravagant or that high.

      MSFT has plateaued since the early 00s because people have seen it really can't innovate beyond OS/Office line. The whole Xbox division has lost money to gain it's prominent position this generation of consoles. The Zune was mostly meh. It came out early in tablets/smartphones but despite that couldn't make anything people needed to have.

      The day Steve Ballmer steps down is the day that stock will start gaining again. Even better if they get a CEO with an iota of division and the power/desire to kill the bureacracy that is stifling that company. I wonder how much of their workforce are just leeches who have a cushy job that produces little/no value to the company.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by joocemann ( 1273720 )

        The lead people at MS are killing the company. I have no doubt about it.

        Have you ever read the e-mails from Bill Gates to his top guys at MS? The e-mails where he describes his intent to use windows movie maker and ended up in an hours-long fiasco of installing all kinds of crap and encountering dysfunction along the entire path? If not it is worth googling.

        I had this EXACT same experience, except I wasn't a former owner writing e-mails... I was just a guy laughing at how ridiculous it was.

        I attempted to

      • Re:Meh (Score:5, Informative)

        by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @09:45PM (#35876168) Homepage

        P/E is not everything. Compared to GOOG or MSFT, AAPL's margins are horrid.

        AAPL's gross margin is currently at 38%. GOOG is 64% and MSFT is 79%.

        That is just one example.

        • by Tim99 ( 984437 )

          P/E is not everything. Compared to GOOG or MSFT, AAPL's margins are horrid.

          AAPL's gross margin is currently at 38%. GOOG is 64% and MSFT is 79%.

          That is just one example.

          That is because AAPL make hardware. GOOG and MSFT are software companies (No, you can't count Xboxs, keyboards and mouses - they are only a small part of MSFT's profits).

          Another example: I am retired now, but our small software company had a gross margin of 90%+. Probably because we did not have a huge bureaucratic infrastructure to support.

        • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by graymocker ( 753063 ) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @02:47AM (#35877646)
          Apple's margins are bad for a software company. Apple's margins are exceptional for a hardware company. (HP, HTC, and RIM's margins are all in the 10-20% range. They would kill for a 38% margin.)

          Judging purely from the financials, it's almost as if Apple were a hybrid software/hardware company or something.
    • by ElBeano ( 570883 )
      You were modded up as insightful, but for many straight quarters, Apple has been performing very well. Their stock price reflects real world, historical performance. If you happen to know that they are headed for an earnings drop, please tell us how you know.
      • The stock price reflects future growth potential. The price of a utility stock such as AT&T reflects real work historical performance. It has a P/E of 9.06, Apple's is 18.85, meaning the market expects Apple to more than double its earnings in the future.

        • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

          Considering that they released the iPad 9 months ago, in one of the most successful product launches in history, and were able to continue to grow their profits in a global economic downturn, and continue to grow their smartphone user base, and continue to increase their computer market share, I think that's not too far away.

          Despite many claims that they'd be a flash in the pan, every year they have continued to grow.

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          According to the article Apple has septupled their profits since 2006, so a mere doubling doesn't seem particularly farfetched.

    • by jamrock ( 863246 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:44PM (#35874566)
      Apple's P/E is only about 18.5, and the case has been repeatedly made that the stock is ridiculously underpriced. Case in point. [] I can't believe your neck fart was modded insightful.
    • At P/E of 18.9 I would have to disagree with you. Unless Apple's earnings were to collapse dramatically in the short term, 18.9 is a fairly modest multiple for a tech company showing strong growth and ownership of multiple market segments. Yes, Android is coming on strong but that negative is already priced in, otherwise Apple's P/E would be somewhere in the mid 20's. Note: I am in no way an Apple groupie. I detest Apple's corporate culture and getting anywhere near an Apple product makes me ill. But a fair

  • "Please hook us up with your dealer!!" what ever you're popping/snorting we want some too.

  • by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:43PM (#35874554)

    ... because they *like* or *prefer* it.

    They will (mostly) be buying it because they don't know any better, or that it is "The OS" that is present on the phone they were sold.

    Windows Mobile has been and always will be a trash OS. Glitchy, crashy, unreliable, clunky, odd..... I have multiple years of experience and wished for something akin to iOS or Android the whole time.

    ---I fear the only way they can predict WM will outrun iOS is because of some form of anti-trust action in business producing exclusivity and limitation of OS choices. This is par for the course for microsoft and its business model; when the consumer doesn't like it, buy up, control, and limit their choices. In the end, they know the consumer pays for MS crap rather than not have technology.

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      Hey, perhaps WM never worked for you, as you expectations were different. I switched from mi HTC wizard to an iPhone, and I gained lots of applications, but I started losing calls. As a phone WM worked well and with a fairly powerful browser it gave me what I needed, and its processor speed was less than 200Mhz. I never recovered from that. And eventually has to switch to a 1Ghz android. Now... As time passes I realize that for the actual processing power, WM5 worked quite well.
    • I fear the only way they can predict WM will outrun iOS [...]

      This is the most ridiculous claim of TFA.
      They only provide 2 data point : 2010 and 2011, where Microsoft has clearly a fraction of Apple marketshare, but is showing some slight improvement. And out of this, the analyst predict the value of 2012 and 2015 and think that by then Microsoft will dominate the market ?!?

      It mostly reminds me of that [].

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        The prediction is based on Nokia choosing to go with Windows 7. For some reason the analysts think that a) Nokia is going to put Windows 7 on all their phones and b) people will actually buy those phones in the same numbers that they buy current Nokia phones. If those two miracles were to happen then Windows 7 would top Apple's phone market share.

    • I own an iPhone, but frankly I'm rooting for WP7 all the way. While there's a lot of excitement about developing for iOS *devices*, I don't see much excitement about iOS as a *development platform*. Closed app store, OS X development only, clunky programming language - no reason to rehash the whole list - you read slashdot. This is the one thing MS brings to the show - they know how to make software that appeals to developers, and that's what I expect out of WP7. Some excitement around it as a developme
      • Except that nearly that whole list describes how Microsoft plans to handle developers for WM7. Closed App Store, Windows only development (granted, given Windows ubiquity, not a huge issue, but conceptually the same), probably VS only development... Only the clunky language is missing and there are ways around that. Not to mention that while ObjectiveC may be somewhat clunky, most people admit that Cocoa is pretty spiffy overall once they play with it a bit. It abstracts away most, if certainly not all,

  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:43PM (#35874556)

    the interpretation can.

    For example: $1k invested in 2000, AAPL vs. MSFT. What about 1985? 1990? 1995? Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes. Apple has had success with some of it's more recent Jobs products. But nobody KNEW that would happen before-hand. Apple has gone up and down; has Microsoft done the same? Was MSFT less of a gamble with a smaller potential benefit, whereas Apple was a gamble with large potential benefit? (I don't know, I'm only asking questions that could color the interpretation of these "infallible numbers" ....)

    Or, how about this one: revenue vs. profits. MSFT is still beating Apple in profit. So ... which is more important? Total stock price? Profit? Total revenue? ...

    Or how about diversity of revenue? If suddenly iPhones and iPads went out of style, where would Apple be? If Windows phones went out of style, where would Windows be?

    Interpretation of numbers is a big deal in comparing two companies... and there's a lot more to a company vs. company debate than revenue, profit, stock price/market cap, and phone sales... especially when products come and go as trends, and when one company has already shown that it falls apart without a certain CEO.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Potential profits for the next few years determine stock price. Apple's profits are multiplying (x7 since 2006 apparently). Microsoft's are going up, so far, a little bit.

      As for diversity, Microsoft makes most of their money from two closely linked software products - Office and Windows. Both of which are losing market share. Apple makes most of their money from phones, tablets, music players, computers, apps and music, all but one of which is growing, fast. Which of those is more diverse?

      • Doh. I just had a post and accidentally clicked a link in the preview. Sigh.

        Here are some charts. [] Most of Apple's profit comes from the iPhone of late. Without it, it looks like its profits would have been much lower.

        Here's a slightly dated Windows one. [] Office and Windows, you're right. On the whole, I'd say iOS products are more of a luxury item (and have more competition?) than Windows and Office.

        Of course, if either one stagnates, then either company is in trouble :) Not sure how Windows 7 has im

      • Microsoft makes most of their money from two closely linked software products - Office and Windows. Both of which are losing market share.

        You are making one of the mistakes the poster was talking about.

        iOS is losing market share to Android, yet Apple is still printing money hand-over-fist at an ever-increasing rate in those very markets its "losing share" in.

        The same is true for Microsoft. Even though Office and Windows are "losing share", they are still setting profit and revenue records nearly every year.

        Apples problem is that the revenue streams are too tightly integrated with each other. If Apple doesnt sell any iPhones or iPads, t

  • FTFA:

    However, both Gartner and IDC predict Microsoft's Windows Phone will beat out Apple's iOS for mobile market share by 2015

    Yeah, that's what everyone predicts from the market share trends :

    • USA [] (3rd graphic)
    • France []

    Or maybe MS will continue its slow descent into hell...

  • Kinect. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:47PM (#35874600)
    Everyone forgets about Kinect. Which outsold iPhones, iPads, iPod touchs, combined. It went on to break the Guiness World Record for the fastest selling consumer gadget of all time. Mod me down as a troll or whatever but: Thats Pretty Fucking Impressive. Frankly Apple's wonderously profitable, despite having nothing like the market share of other players, that is all.

    We're all still so besotted with shiny iThings and Microsoft bashing groupthink that we've kind of ignored this revolutionary human computer interface. Things being done with Kinect by hackers are seriously cool and ultimately this is the technology that is going to be the technology that the forthcoming consumer robot revolution will see the world with.

    Microsoft is hardly old news, it just isn't a news media and Wall Street darling like Apple. Microsofts been sinking billions into user interface R&D over the last little while, too much criticism, yet they now have something pretty revolutionary and record breaking to show for it.

    As soon as they stick Kinect in a smartphone they'll have a hit on their hands.

    ""It's a matter of opinion which company makes the better operating system or is likely to grow its smartphone market share. But numbers don't lie â" or exaggerate."

    Yeah numbers don't lie - Apple still has a niche desktop install base, and a smaller market share of mobiles than Android, and growth has plateaued in each area. Tablets are where Apple will inevitably dethroned, but I'd bet they hold out longer since their lead in this area is bigger. Historically Apple having any kind of lead has been a temporary thing.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      It sure did, but did it pay for the debt the xbox project has?
      That debt goes back all the way to the first one.

    • Kinect has competitors. One done with (Open Source) software and an IPhone also produces impressive results: []

      Neither the Kinect nor XBox will cause investors to love Microsoft. Just as well there are still loyal fanbois who have blinkers on to what is going on outside of Redmond. The rest of us see Microsoft in a similar way to IBM; big, bloated, and not going away anytime soon, but not exciting either - it
    • Here, let me fix that for you.

      Historically, having any kind of lead has been a temporary thing.

      There. Isn't that better?

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Um, do you have any references to back any of that up?

      The Kinect is the best selling consumer gadget of all time, but it's closely followed by the original iPad, the previous record holder. And after it's initial burst the Kinect slowed off. It looks like the Microsoft shipped 10 million Kinects to retailers in it's first four months, selling at $150 apiece. Note that those are shipped to retailers, not necessary sold.

      In the last three months of 2010 Apple sold 7.33 million iPads, 16.24 million iPhones a

    • The number of Kinect's sold by MS is definitely an impressive feat, but how profitable will it be for MS on the whole? When Apple sells an iDevice they also get software and media sales via iTunes. There is the so-called "halo-effect" of iDevice owners buying Macs (evidence by Macs growing sales while PCs are shrinking). Owners of iDevices tend to be repeat customers buying replacement iDevices each time. Are people going to repeatedly buy the Kinect? Arguably Kinect is driving some additional software
  • I've been a lifelong Windows user (happy about it too), and up until recently never thought that would change. But, as I was researching my options for a new laptop, I found I couldn't get what I wanted (256GB SSD, 13", ultra light, long battery) for any cheaper buying Dell/HP/whatever so I bought a refurb Macbook. I'm a .NET developer though, and I never never never never never would have even thought of buying one without Parallels so that I could run Windows. I'm not sure that my anecdote is represent
    • "lifelong [happy] windows user" I mean, really !!
      Couldn't get the laptop I wanted (256 gb SSD), I mean really - you represent 0.01% of the market ?
      • 0.1% of the Slashdot crowd, maybe. But you delude yourself if you believe that plenty of folks aren't happy with Windows. Now, yes - the specs I wanted for my laptop aren't super-typical for someone in the market for a Dell, but so what? My point still stands - I highly doubt that Apple is killing Microsoft in any way right now in the markets where they actually compete. People aren't choosing Apple over some Microsoft alternative - that was the battle from 2 decades ago. The more interesting compariso
    • by mortonda ( 5175 )

      I've been a lifelong Windows user (happy about it too)

      Sounds like Stockholm Syndrome to me.... ;)

      • I know you're trying to be cute, but I think that's part of the problem. I run a Linux server at work for secure file transfers and we have a legacy Apache box serving PHP pages for an old website. We run Cygwin on many of our Windows servers. But the truth is - and I recognize I'm not in great company here at Slashdot - that Windows is plenty fine for most in the consumer space. Windows 7 is the best OS MS has ever released, and the adoption rate blew away OSX's total market share in a matter of months
        • Actually you are missing the point. Microsoft dominates the desktop and will continue to do so. However, people aren't buying desktops as they used to. They use their smartphone and iPads for tasks they formerly bought desktops for. With console use on the rise as well you can expected to see the number of consumer desktops stabilize or grow very slowly (accounting for growth in use in the developing world). This is not a situation investors will want to be in. (also written from OS X; I agree with your poi
          • I have an iPad as well. The first thing you do when you open the box is plug it into your computer and wait. We're not in a post-PC world yet by a long shot, but I'll agree with you that MS got caught with their pants down when it comes to tablets and phones. But if history is any indication, they'll catch up, and I expect they'll do it quickly.
    • tl;dr edition: +1

      You've described my background and thought process for a recent purchase almost exactly - except that I've bought a new Macbook Air. I still think it's overpriced for what it does, but then no-one else offers all the features and benefits in one package, so I guess they have a reason to charge as much as they do. And I've grown to like it a lot - more so than a tablet (another recent purchase), in fact. It has completely replaced my Win7 netbook, and I don't notice any loss of functionality

    • Windows, I have heard of these self harm disorders before, I hope for your speedy recovery.

  • by cinnamon colbert ( 732724 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2011 @06:54PM (#35874682) Journal
    I mean, these are the guys selling toxic mortgage backed securities as "AAA" while simultaneously shorting the securities as junk
    Wall Str is where one number can come out, and suddenly a company is worth 10, or even 20% less then yesterday
    I could go on, but this blind faith in the "market" - which is really a relatively small # of conservative white guys who all live suburbs that are the same across the country - this faith is silly.

I've got a bad feeling about this.