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How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft 458

HughPickens.com writes James B. Stewart writes in the NYT that in 1998 Bill Gates said in an interview that he "couldn't imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft" but less than two decades later, Apple, with a market capitalization more than double Microsoft's, has won. The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But according to Stewart, Apple's vision was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Where Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person's desk, Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket. "Apple has been very visionary in creating and expanding significant new consumer electronics categories," says Toni Sacconaghi. "Unique, disruptive innovation is really hard to do. Doing it multiple times, as Apple has, is extremely difficult." According to Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson, Microsoft seemed to have the better business for a long time. "But in the end, it didn't create products of ethereal beauty. Steve believed you had to control every brush stroke from beginning to end. Not because he was a control freak, but because he had a passion for perfection." Can Apple continue to live by Jobs's disruptive creed now that the company is as successful as Microsoft once was? According to Robert Cihra it was one thing for Apple to cannibalize its iPod or Mac businesses, but quite another to risk its iPhone juggernaut. "The question investors have is, what's the next iPhone? There's no obvious answer. It's almost impossible to think of anything that will create a $140 billion business out of nothing."
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How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

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  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:26AM (#48946023) Homepage Journal

    Uh. They most certainly did NOT create the smartphone sector. And they sure as fuck didn't do it out of "nothing".

    Now I admit, yes, Apple's been disruptive, in a good way, for the industry. But can we stop slobbing the Apple knob?

    • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:45AM (#48946083)

      right and touchscreen smart phones were widely used before the iPhone? yes you had business phones. they had shitty web browsers, could barely display one email at a time, and were a joke.

      The apple introduced the iPhone, and all those companies what had smartphones before are either gone, or fading away. So yes you are technically correct apple didn't create the smartphone sector. Apple turned a tiny niche, into a massive piece, showing companies how doing something right all the way through can lead to massive profits.

      So when you turn a few thousand units a year into a few billion units it is building it out of nothing.

      • Actually, it's largely a matter of striking at the end of the early adopter phase or the beginning of the early majority phase. From a commercial perspective, you're correct that it's practically nothing, but from an engineering perspective, it's not that big of a change. Changes in market and marketing are important, but /. should be able to separate the technical and commercial aspects better.
        • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @09:06AM (#48946199)
          I think its pretty simple. Microsoft overlooked the entertainment part of the market, and stuck with the business/productivity focus almost exclusively. Microsoft remains dominant in business. Apple got it when it came to entertainment and social aspects, and has reaped the benefits of addressing that part of the market. Even when Microsoft tried to create entertainment products, they failed because they launched them from the business/productivity based platform.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Even when Microsoft tried to create entertainment products, they failed because they launched them from the business/productivity based platform.

            XBox.

            • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

              If Sony hadn't tried to hang themselves about a dozen times the Xbox would never have gotten off the ground. Despite the fact that Sony has shot themselves in the foot over and over the playstation 4 is outselling the xbox one. How a multibillion dollar corporation can be so inept and still make money is beyond me.

            • Good point. Yes, they did do better in gaming where they applied the right focus and left productivity aside. They didn't take that approach with portable devices.
          • I think its pretty simple. Microsoft overlooked the entertainment part of the market, and stuck with the business/productivity focus almost exclusively. Microsoft remains dominant in business. Apple got it when it came to entertainment and social aspects, and has reaped the benefits of addressing that part of the market.

            That's part of it. Several years back, the MS fans bragged about their choice of peripherals, add ons, cards that they could buy, while the measly Apples were stuck with a few.

            Now that same argument is used to try to explain why the MS PC is not as well integrated as the Apple product.

            In addition, Apple is a hardware company first, and they have a lot of software that is knitted for the OS. I have used Final Cut Studio just about forever, and even iMovie to do video work. I've also run Adobe Premiere o

          • Apple got it when it came to entertainment and social aspects

            Ahahah. No. Remember the original iPhone did not even allow you to install apps? Besides other people tried doing a gaming only phone before, e.g. Nokia N-Gage and flopped terribly.

            It only started having success when it allowed you to install apps. Which were made by someone other than Apple. It's a pocket general purpose computer that's what it is.

            • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @11:21AM (#48946787)

              I think the iPhone was successful before they supported 3rd party apps. They already had the entertainment basics built in - which at the time meant playing your iTunes collection on your phone. But yeah, 3rd party apps are what prevented Microsoft from copying the iPhone and stealing the business. Apple won that one by playing one of Microsoft's games - lock in the developers and let them sell your system for you.

              Microsoft tried to use Windows 8 to do that. They were able to count on selling Windows 8 to new PC buyers - and they figured that would get the deveopers back from Apple. Hasn't worked out, though. The desktop didn't need new phone apps.

              In fact, other than the apps that are already there, desktops today may as well be Chromebooks. That's why Mac sales are also booming. Most home PC users are just using them for the web, email and streaming video. PC's, Macs and Chromebooks do all of these equally well. PC's still win for users that need 3rd party apps - and for gamers. Macs are fine if the particular 3rd party apps you need happen to be there. And even Linux is fine if the only 3rd party app you need is Office - and you find LibreOffice compatibility good enough for your needs.

              For everybody else, Chromebooks get the job done. Even if many Slashdotters can't wrap their minds around that, Microsoft can. That's why they're trying to kill off Chromebooks with an equivalent stripped-down Windows platform. Not sure if it even matters any more, though, since it's the change in how PCs are used, not the specific competitor, that's changed the landscape.

          • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @11:02AM (#48946721)

            It's not that Microsoft overlooked the entertainment part of the market. Microsoft routinely 'overlooked' all parts of the market when those parts were in their early stages.

            Prior to the iPod, they were able to get away with letting everybody else figure out what the new areas of personal computing were going to be. Then they picked the already established winners and used their monopoly tying power to overcome them. It worked for integrated dev tools. It worked for office software. It even mostly worked for web browsers. It didn't work for the iPod, because there was nothing that Microsoft could use to tie their late-to-market Zune players to. Apple made an appealing product, and they won the market. Plus, most iPod users were tied by their music collections to Apple.

            And the iPod begat the iPhone - which was too complex for Microsoft to play quick-enough catch up and use, say, 'real IE' or exclusive connectivity to exchange to succeed. In fact, the success of the iPhone and iPad killed IE as a selling point by solidifying the notion that web sites had better not be IE specific if they wanted to get the hits. Once exchange connectivity and good enough MSOffice viewers became available on iOS and Android, the window of opportunity closed.

      • by putaro ( 235078 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @09:02AM (#48946181) Journal

        The web browsers and email in early smartphones were crap, but the phone part worked. The original iPhone was a crappy phone. Turned out people wanted a decent web browser and mail more than they did a decent phone.

      • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @10:12AM (#48946461)

        They did it by striking when the iron was hot, as soon as there were well-performing touchscreens. Imagine there had been no Apple, or Apple had not seen the market. Do you really think the world would have missed the opportunity to make a similar phone? It might have been delayed one or two years at most.

        But Apple's beating the competition in the market shows mainly one thing: they were working behind the scenes to realize a no-keys touchscreen smartphone before the parts were available. That shows real initiative.

      • all those companies what had smartphones before are either gone, or fading away

        Like HTC?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ArsonSmith ( 13997 )

        The iPhone came out when it did mostly because the tech required for it to come out had recently developed to the point that it could. That is why there were so many "iPhone clones" that came out rapidly afterwards. Not because they were actual clones but because they were in development for years. Apple was just fastest. Of course they did a lot of great things and other products were modified to utilize a lot of the better ideas that Apple had. It wasn't something they invented, they were just first

    • Uh. They most certainly did NOT create the smartphone sector. And they sure as fuck didn't do it out of "nothing"

      They certainly did give it a kick in the ass though.

      But can we stop slobbing the Apple knob?

      If in the ideal world of the apple hater, I wonder what version of DOS we would be using on our Blackberry's?

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        Uh. They most certainly did NOT create the smartphone sector. And they sure as fuck didn't do it out of "nothing"

        They certainly did give it a kick in the ass though.

        Oh! No doubt! I won't even waste anyone's time trying to deny this.

        But can we stop slobbing the Apple knob?

        If in the ideal world of the apple hater, I wonder what version of DOS we would be using on our Blackberry's?

        I don't "hate" Apple.

        Their products aren't my particular cup of tea. But I don't hate them.

        I save my hatred for the circle-jerking culture club that grew up around it. Mostly because rampant idiocy and fanaticism annoy the fuck out of me.

      • Maybe some other OS with a BSD Unix kernel underneath. Which was not developed by Apple either.

      • Not an Apple hater. But I still won't buy their devices for my own use. Apple offer me a guaranteed "experience" that they control. In other words, they offer safety in exchange for liberty, which is not a bargain that I'm willing to make.

    • by ohieaux ( 2860669 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @10:24AM (#48946515)
      While there's no denying Apple helped build the sector into $140B (or whatever it is), the real innovation was bringing data to users at a reasonable price.

      I had some lame windows smart flip phone prior to the iPhones coming out. But, it wasn't subsidized by my employer. The browser was garbage, and the email was rudimentary. I lived in fear that something would misbehave and I'd get slammed with $100's of dollars in data fees from AT&T. I bought an early iPhone and lost that fear. Ultimately, the closed ecosystem drove me to Android. Now, I struggle to get to 10% of my monthly data cap.

      For me, opening cell companies to reasonably priced data (by jumping in at the right time and locking in with AT&T) is what Apple did to open the market.
      • My boss got us smartphones back in the Windows CE days, because he's a huge geek like the rest of us. The problem was that while work was willing to pay for the phone part the data was WAAAAY too expensive so we didn't have that. Combine that with lackluster wifi availability and the fact that you had to manually turn it on and off because it drained battery out of range, and we didn't end up using the "smart" portion much. Not because it was too hard to use or any of that BS, but because there just wan't t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 2ms ( 232331 )

      Hate all you want, but there's no denying the fact that the iPhone was the most revolutionary mobile phone there's ever been.

      Look at phones the year the iPhone came out -- you clicked little plastic buttons or poked at (while hating) them with styli like Palm Pilots. Far and away the most satisfying one to use was the Blackberry which was essentially a candybar phone with full set of alphanumeric buttons instead of T9. All they were really good for beyond dialing numbers was writing emails.

      Now everything'

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        Again. I don't hate Apple.

        I just hate the fanboy bullshit.

        Did Apple revolutionize the market?
        YES! FUCK YES! HELL THE FUCK YES!

        Did they CREATE the market out of "nothing"?

        No.

      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @01:30PM (#48947551)

        Now everything's been clones of the iPhone since. Inertial scrolling, multitouch, practically identical user interfaces out of the box down to even the colors of the icons, etc -- they all use these things basically identically. Before the iPhone they had plastic buttons and you would try to scrolled around by jabbing little arrows on side of screen.

        You're confusing inevitable industry evolution for copying Apple. The LG Prada did those things before the iPhone, because that's the way the industry was headed whether Apple ever released an iPhone or not. Apple won their case against Samsung only because the judge disallowed evidence Samsung had prepared showing phones they had in the design phase before the iPhone was announced, because they missed a filing deadline. Like I keep telling people, just because the first time you saw something was on an Apple product, doesn't mean Apple invented it. And likewise just because other companies started doing it after Apple, doesn't mean they copied Apple.

        Sadly, it all ended in 2011. Look at phones. They're all the same as 2011 iPhone was just with 2015 cpu/graphic, 2015 screen brightness/contrast, 2015 CMOS camera sensors. Same with computers. Everything's just the same as an iPad or Macbook Air from 2011.

        Wow, talk about Reality Distortion Field. Apple just had the biggest quarter in history. It came after they abandoned Steve "no one is going to buy a big phone" Jobs' arbitrary and damaging restrictions on what products the company could make. His ego was so inflated, he thought everyone should use the same product that best fit his needs. Since his death you've gotten an iPhone with a wider aspect ratio (something Jobs opposed), a smaller iPad (something Jobs opposed), giving buyers a choice of two different iPhones and iPads (something Jobs opposed - he thought you were so stupid you'd be confused by two choices), and a phablet iPhone (something Jobs opposed). And that's just on Apple's product lineup. If you don't see other changes and improvements in the market, it's because you're willfully ignoring them. (BTW, the MBA has one of the worst screens on any laptop above $500 - not sure why you're holding it up as your champion. The MBPs are much better.)

        Most of us who don't like Apple dislike them not because they're Apple, but because they artificially restrict market choice. But Cook has been doing a good job giving users back the choice that Jobs took away. And as long as they continue down that path, there's little reason to continue to hate Apple. You folks who love Apple so much that you hate everything else OTOH...

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:38AM (#48946057)

    "Unique, disruptive innovation is really hard to do. Doing it multiple times, as Apple has, is extremely difficult."

    "Unique, disruptive innovation is really hard to do. Doing it multiple times, as Apple has, is extremely difficult." That's why Apple has had its share of failures..."

    Additions mine. This is one fact that a simple google search [businessinsider.com] would have shown. One may ask, are the authors of these pieces paid?

    • by blahbooboo ( 839709 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:59AM (#48946167)

      Did you notice how most of them were before the return of Jobs at an older and wiser stage of life?
      I don't think the U2 ipod represents a huge flop given all the other ipods were doing well, and the cube is a fantastic design that was just too expensive (some would say it birthed the current Mac Mini).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by marcello_dl ( 667940 )

        The younger and dumber Jobs bet the company on new shiny tech, forfeiting entire lines like the apple II in the process. The MacOS pre-quicktime also offered the most consistent user experience ever. If you wanted to do digital audio reliably, the ancient design of MacOS beat the much touted preemptive multitasking, memory protected Win systems.

        Result: Apple on constant brink of collapse, saved by Microsoft who bought Apple stock so they could say We are not a monopoly.

        The older Jobs, butthurt after being o

        • by Chas ( 5144 )

          The older Jobs, butthurt after being ousted by Apple, returns as a control freak

          No. Steve was ALWAYS a control freak.

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        At least one aspect of the cube was an example of Jobs at his worst: the GPU was originally supposed to be one of ATI's brand new Radeons, but ATI let slip to someone that this was happening and it wound up on a blog somewhere. In doing so ATI committed the greatest sin that anyone can commit against Apple - marginally lessening the surprise at one of Jobs' keynotes.

        So what was the response? Apple went with an older, slower, cheaper GPU instead of the Radeon. ATI lost some money, but the ones who really p
  • Different markets... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VendettaMF ( 629699 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:42AM (#48946071) Homepage

    Microsoft sell to people who want to use computers without learning how they work.

    Apple sells to people who want to look richer than they really are.

    In reality, Apple is competing with the makers of fake jewelery.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I work in IT, like many people here, and everyone in my department has a Macbook, except one guy with a Lenovo. No one is trying to look rich, or even gives a shit what anyone else thinks.

    • by asliarun ( 636603 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @09:08AM (#48946205)

      I disagreed about apple being jewelry alone. Microsoft made products that people grumblingly put up with - so they could get the job done and be more productive.

      Apple made products that people finally liked to use, and could use it easily enough, and fairly intuitively. When you create a great user experience like this, especially with a very low learning curve, people will adopt and use it in extraordinary ways. Once they feel good about using your products, they will feel special, like it was their private special thing. They will then become your biggest marketing team.

      If anything, the industrial design aspect of Apple's products and even high price were side effects. The first was a nice to have, the second not so nice to have. But it didn't change a damn thing. It was always about the core user experience.. And how even most of the third party apps gave you the same sense of familiarity and consistency.

      In a cynical way, this is like marketing a drug. You give the first few doses for free and make people realize how easy it is to use the drug and how shiny their world becomes when they use it regularly. Then step back and enjoy the fun. Apple gave people a tiny little pill yto swallow and even gave them little travel packs. Microsoft made people goto the doctor and get the drug injected up their backsides.

      • If anything, the industrial design aspect of Apple's products and even high price were side effects. The first was a nice to have, the second not so nice to have. But it didn't change a damn thing. It was always about the core user experience.

        Yes. I've spent a lot of time futzing with my PC's a lot working with my Macs. There is a reason why companies have a lot of people keeping their PCs running. People who use PCs at work probably give a big boost to Apple for their home products.

        The price. After watching two nerds nearly come to blows over a 5 cent difference in the price of a RAM stick some years ago, I find the whole thing rather silly. I get the impression that all slashdotters drive around in Toyota Corollas, or whatever else the cheap

      • by c ( 8461 )

        Apple made products that people finally liked to use, and could use it easily enough, and fairly intuitively.

        ... and, to maintain the karmic balance, they made iTunes.

    • Microsoft sell to people who want to use computers without learning how they work.

      What? Isn't it the opposite? Apple Sells Computers to people who just want to do work and not spend hours figuring out how to use the OS. Example, I have spent countless hours showing people how to do the simplest of things on Windows 8.0 / 8.1.

      • Microsoft sell to people who want to use computers without learning how they work.

        What? Isn't it the opposite? Apple Sells Computers to people who just want to do work and not spend hours figuring out how to use the OS. Example, I have spent countless hours showing people how to do the simplest of things on Windows 8.0 / 8.1.

        I have no idea where he got that idea, because my experience was much more like yours. The PC was fragile, updates broke programs and reset options, people had to constantly re-learn things to do what they had already been doing (ribbon and 8/8.1) and other productivity killers that necessitated many PC support people.

        But one thing. I use terminal in OSX a lot to do quite a bit of stuff. It can do a lot of cool stuff very quickly. You just have to look at OSX as the biggest Linux distro out there.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      I've known a lot of people who bought mac computers because they just got tired of all the malware and even worse junkware on PCs. All the people I know that went from PC to Mac were amazed at how there is absolutely zero crapware on new Macs. None...nada.....zilch! Why PC makers insist on crippling their own product I just don't get.

    • Oh, wow. And people actually moderate this clueless drivel up?
  • Inflation Adjusted (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Technically if you adjust for inflation MSFT from 1999 still has the market cap crown. AAPL is likely to pass them later on this year.

  • Apple Newton was AFAIK, one of their first PDAs on the market in the early 90s. It's not much of a stretch to say that a smartphone is essentially an internet-enabled PDA that can also make calls. While the Newton failed, the iPhone was eventually a big success due to technology advances allowing for a smaller footprint and appealing design aesthetic.

    • Psion really was an early mover, with Newton and Palm moving in after that. Palm had a pretty good lead at one time if I recall correctly.

      PDA's really didn't become smartphones, but rather phones migrated to add PDA functionality and make them obsolete.
    • by Aereus ( 1042228 )

      As an addendum to this: The Newton even has a very similar function and form-factor to the current-day Samsung Note series.

  • by KDiPietro ( 3765499 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:49AM (#48946117)
    From where I'm sitting, it seems like Steve Jobs is getting credit for Steve Balmer's profound and pervasive ineptness.
    • Jobs' genius and Ballmer's ineptitude are not mutually exclusive concepts.
    • Apple is wrecking any other company in the industry. $18B quarter earnings with a goldmine in sight is the sign of business genius. Most everything they come out with translates into money raining down from the sky.

      So yes, they're really a genius. Ballmer was incompetent, but Apple is a powerhouse in the tech industry.

    • by Quarters ( 18322 )

      Ineptness? While he is large, boisterous, and a bit of a buffoon, you have to give Balmer credit for greatly increasing Microsoft's market value over the length of his tenure as CEO and for starting many of the initiatives that are coming to fruition under Nadella.

      Apple hasn't really overtaken Microsoft. Apple focuses on consumer tech. That takes large R&D budgets, large design budgets, and a lot of risk. It is also a segment where you have to continually invent new markets or else you will become irrel

  • by CaptainOfSpray ( 1229754 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:50AM (#48946119)
    ....but Steve Jobs has passed on.

    Those that follow, are exactly that, followers. Neither Apple nor Microsoft has anybody capable of the vision thing.

    My money is on the Next Big Thing coming out of the Maker movement.
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:52AM (#48946135) Journal

    Steve believed you had to control every brush stroke from beginning to end. Not because he was a control freak, but because he had a passion for perfection.

    Errr, the two conditions may not be mutually exclusive, but perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

    The company alpha can control every brush stroke to his complete satisfaction and still be mistaken in his vision.

    Eased out of the company he started in a garage, I believe Jobs was just the right mix of had something to prove and accurate vision. Being a hands-on-every-stage individual often implies an inability to delegate to or trust coworkers, so it isn't always a successful way to manage.

  • Not sure its true. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:54AM (#48946147)

    Apple ships mid and low end tech today - at high commodity pricing. In that, it has won a battle, and its reward is very large profits. But aside from the media conglomerate driven apple store - and both reside largely in consumer/prosumer space - what is apple shipping? Its IPad sale numbers are falling. There are some harsh limits where Apple lives in a box it can't escape just like its users. It relies heavily on others being Mac friendly. The Mac server is an afterthought.

    As for a computer in every pocket? No, not on your nelly. Apple have a long long way to go before its an apple that sits in everyone's pocket. It fundamentally hates the 'cheap market' - yet ships ram soldered into the board and disk not much better - stuff you see at chromebook sale level. And aside from the consumer based shop level, Apple is out of the big players the worst placed for cloud.

    When it comes to future tech and cloud, Apple doesn't have answers. Its just the end device. While that continues to certainly make good sales money, it means that its potentially at the mercy of amazon, google, azure. Potentially. No one is going to drop support for good end client structures, but it means Apple will be forced to play nice with people it hates.

    In the meantime, despite being at farce level in terms of windows - MS is making large steps with azure and the application stacks its working on.

  • by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @08:58AM (#48946165) Homepage

    Not because he was a control freak, but because he had a passion for perfection.

    That is precisely what a control freak is - someone who believes that things should be a certain way and refuses to compromise. Everything must bow down to the vision of that person. You can try to spin it as a "passion for perfection" but ultimately it's exactly the same thing.

    • >> Not because he was a control freak, but because he had a passion for perfection.

      >. That is precisely what a control freak is

      Suppose someone wants perfection, so they hire the very best for everything - they have Pavarotti do the voices, and put Ted T'so in charge of designing their storage. They then trust Pavarotti and T'so to do their jobs well. Would that not be a passion for perfection, but not being a control freak?

  • My heading reads like the article. When looking back it's amazing what we can prove. Apple almost disappeared because of that mentality. Apple was the biggest PC maker when they lost the market. Apple was the biggest smartphone maker when it lost the market. The reason they were successful, as well as reason for their downfall is the same. Give the user what they want.

    When Apple was leading in PC sales they produced an economical system which allowed the user to own a computer. IBM took that away because th

    • As long as people like you believe that Apple lost the smartphone market, there is nothing that can stop them :-)

      Here's what Apple learnt from John Sculley's time at Pepsi: If your competitor counts the number of bottles sold, while you count the revenue and profit, you let your competitor win in the sales of small bottles. Let them think they are winning while you rake in the money.

      In terms of the smartphone market which Apple lost in your opinion, Apple made about 7 to 8 times more profit in that m
      • Here's what Apple learnt from John Sculley's time at Pepsi: If your competitor counts the number of bottles sold, while you count the revenue and profit, you let your competitor win in the sales of small bottles. Let them think they are winning while you rake in the money.

        Someone needs to mod you up now dammit.

        While fanbois love to have a Vietnam war style body count, isn't it supposed to be about profits?

        Otherwise we'd be eating crap, because 50 million flies can't be wrong.

  • Artificial intelligence / automation will almost certainly put up bigger numbers than that. As Gates said "A breakthrough in machine learning will be worth 10 Microsofts"
  • > The most successful companies need a vision

    Agree. Otherwise people start pulling in different directions. Like Apple in the 1990s.

    > and both Apple and Microsoft have one

    Disagree.

    Apple's early 1980s vision was to put the GUI on the desktop. They did that, and then spend the next decade floundering.

    MS's vision was to put the NT kernel everywhere. They did that, and then spent the next decade floundering.

    Apple's resurgence may be smart, or it might just be better timing.

  • Maybe it had nothing to do with Apple. Maybe Microsoft just got lazy.

  • 1. Automobile sharing like, iUber. 95% of the cars bought remain unused 95% of the time. [*FN1] Cars are the second most expensive thing a typical American buys. The most expensive for renters. The first expensive thing for all too. This level of over investment in something that lies idle for so long, depreciates in value.. It is ready for a huge disruption. Uber and its clones are the first movers. A company with better image would do a lot better.

    2. More than 70% of credit transactions are not loans,

  • Market capitalization has nothing to do with profit, or even sales. It has to do with stock price, which, again, has nothing to do with profitability or any other measure of success of a company.
  • IBM Simon: 1992.
    iPhone: 2007
    Elisha Gray (the guy who actually invented the telephone! Bell beat him to the patent office by a mere twenty minutes) patented an electronic handwriting capture system in 1888(!).
    Cadre marketed the first commercial predecessor for the tablet/slate PC (which was just a tablet input device for a desktop) in 1982. The first x86-based tablet that used a commercial OS was the 1985 Pencept. Not having a touchscreen it required an electronic stylus. The first tablet touchscreen (AKA sl

  • For those of us old enough to have witnessed the last 40 years of computer evolution, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it's all about the user experience and not about low cost or availability. Apple's successful products are a pleasure to use. Apple's failures weren't. IMHO, nothing that Microsoft makes is a pleasure to use. There was a time when the computer nerd in me enjoyed dinking around in the OS or the hardware but no longer. I have work that I need to get done and anything that impedes

  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Saturday January 31, 2015 @11:01AM (#48946719) Homepage Journal

    Dammit, please. I watched the touchscreen market, via DigiTimes, for years. The geeks in Taiwan who were carving the niche for ATM touchscreen displays were the top of the touchscreen pyramid. Apple was buying IPods (pods not pads) from Taiwan contract manufacturers, who would show other "cool stuff" they had. Apple saw it quickly and wrote software and gets a lot of credit, but designed Taiwanese inventions into it. I was told the small firm Apple claims did it for them in Vancouver was from the Taipei outfit.

    Apple basically did to Taiwan what Bill Gates did to IBM. Which is great, I have no problem with it, but please give Terry Gou and Simon Lin (the Jobs and Gates counterparts in Taipei) some credit for what happened. They are the reason the Samsung vs. Apple patents go nowhere - its because Taiwan geeks made the hardware. It's less the invention of the hardware than it is the licensing fees. Control of the licensing fees is what made Gates and Jobs, and that's largely a legal play. Again, fine, but it just pains me to see the actual engineers ignored.

  • MS gained critical mass as the PC market boomed - that's the only reason they are around. Until a few years ago they were also able to help hardware vendors sell new stuff by deliberately turning each new OS into a performance hog, helping vendors justify selling new stuff. Vendors in turn helping MS push their new OS because of reasons.
    That aside, MS is mostly known for stifling innovation rather than bringing it on. The odd kinect or something aside.

    Apple on the other hand always did well when the control

  • Sometime in 2000 there was a coffee table sized book of non production apple designs with early ereaders, cheque book size computers etc that never made it into production etc.

    Those ideas pre internet shopping have now been translated into reality in other things. Microsoft instead looked at pc boxes, ignored the internet and killed its competitors like novell to sell 'servers'. The average apple buyer knows what his/her thing can do, and the cloud and how it powers the naked selfies is something they don

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