Although the markets haven’t closed yet, Right now Apple’s market cap stands at 156.9 billion, 400 million more than IBM’s. This is simply remarkable. After years of being the underdog, the Cupertino based company has left most of its current and past competitors in the dust. Dell, HP and now IBM have all been unable to keep up with the explosive growth of Apple since Steve Jobs returned to Apple.
If someone had told me back in the 90s, when converting someone to the Mac was nearly impossible, that Apple would be able to stage such a comeback, I simply wouldn’t have believed it. Even I who have been a loyal Apple customer since the early 80’s came extremely close to throwing the towel in the late nineties. Then came Steve Jobs, the iMac and the iPod and the rest is history. I am really happy to see a company that has always believed in innovation succeed in the market. Jason Calacanis summed it up very well in a recent TWIT episode saying that if you want to be rich you look up to Bill Gates, if you want to be great you look up to Steve Jobs.
However, market valuations do not always reflect the true health of a company. Apple’s revenue depends on the sales of a very small set of products and therefore is extremely vulnerable to sudden market changes. Companies like IBM which offer a wide selection of software, services and hardware can better adapt, and that is why they have been able to survive for so many decades. For Apple to continue growing they need to offer a wider range of products. They know it and that is why they are investing in a new datacenter in NC and why they will probably launch pretty soon their rumored tablet computer. When Steve Jobs said “See you soon” at the recent iPod media event, he probably meant it.