There is no love lost between myself and the Steve Jobs Megalomaniacal empire at the moment. But this is even more stupid than usual for that loose-mouthed, consumer-be-damned moron.
Maybe a week ago, the market capitalization of Apple exceeded that of Microsoft for the first time in history, dislodging the latter from the lofty perch that it has held for years and years.
To me, the significance of this is more about a “popularity bubble” that I think Apple is experiencing. There are a lot of intangibles for Apple, and one could argue that it is in fact more valuable than Microsoft in the long run. I think the value of intellectual property might be pretty close between the two, in reality, but Apple has begun moving into some markets (um…with the iPad) that are still growth markets.
The question, to me, is whether this potential for growth is worth as much as investors think it is. I’m really not sure. First, let’s acknowledge that the market for computers is flat and margins are basically zero. There is no growth in the personal computer market, no matter how many Macbooks and iMacs are sold. They just don’t make enough money off of each one. And, while Apple’s ability to adopt technology just before competitors (USB, WiFi, among others) is at times uncanny (and its marketing teams’ ability to hype the bejesus out of those advantages is just remarkable), it is probably also more expensive for them to be introducing those features before others.
So computers are a dead end. Portable music players are beginning to plateau, I wager (I haven’t looked at the numbers in a while), and IMO the inclusion of a video camera on the 5th Generation iPod Nano is a sign that designers are beginning to grasp at straws.
Portable media via innovative mobile devices…that’s where the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad come in. And it’s also why Steve Jobs is turning into Bill Gates.