As the day dawned and stock markets opened, Apple shares went up by $16 to $647 and made it the most valuable company worth $623 Billion. It beat its next rival Exxon Mobile. Towards the end of 1999, Microsoft was worth $616B, but its value now is $257B, less than half of Apple’s value. Who could have imagined this ten years ago? Apple was derided as the company that paints PC’s (multiple color workstations) for a living.
I have written before on Apple’s rapid growth and success. After Steve Jobs returned to Apple the second time, he revived the sinking ship and then started new categories that became market leaders. The new MacBook Air started a new trend in light-weight, sleek design with its ultra-fast operating system. No longer one has to wait minutes for the system to boot up. Then came the iPod that turned the music business upside down. Then followed the new leader in smartphone – iPhone which saw huge success year after year, contributing almost half of the revenue. Then Jobs introduced the iPad, the first tablet with touch interface. In spite of critics who doubted its success, it defied gravity in terms of sales and profit.
Apple started its stores to sell its own products. When a board member objected saying, “Brick and Mortar stores are bad business”, Steve Jobs replied, “we are not talking of brick and mortar. It will be glass and steel”. The Apple stores became a runaway success. It’s all about user experience and aesthetics in design. Customers are willing to pay higher price to get that experience. Apple’s products stay high in price and yield big margins for the company. Also, Steve lead a sixth category in animation technology via Pixar. He bought the company from George Lucas for $10M and sold it years later to Disney for $7B.
Apple deserves to be the most valuable company, due to its innovation, design, and superior products. It also has a tremendous leadership team which was shaped by Steve Jobs before hos death. Today he would have been so proud to see his company become the number one in value.