It’s a story about great creativity, perseverance, forward thinking. It’s a story about vision, about leadership, about innovation. Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it any better. After a long exile, Steve Jobs returned to a then struggling Apple when it acquired his NeXT Computer company in 1996. Apple at the time was little more than a boutique competing against the mass market Window’s juggernaut. It had passionate followers, a known brand, and solid product, but a relatively meager market share. In the decade plus that’s followed Job set out to rebuild and restore the company he first created. It may be a foregone conclusion, but we can now send the Champagne to Cupertino.
Today, reinvented as a media trend setter and gadgeteer, Apple has done what might have seemed unthinkable in the days when Jobs first returned – the company has overtaken Microsoft in market value and become one of the most valuable companies in the world.
As of the close of markets, Apple’s market cap rested at $222.1b just ahead of its rival.
In the days to come that may change again, the two companies will probably leapfrog back and forth at the whim of the market for a while, but even if that happens, on the back of the iPod (2001), the iPhone (2007), the iPad (2010) not to mention the the shift to Intel powered Mac computers, Apple has not only climbed to a place many never imagined, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
(The Chart shows a comparison of the two companies stock prices from 1997, when Jobs became interim CEO, until now. Note: it does not show Market Value. Click to enlarge)