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Apple’s Dominance, In Context

We all read the headlines today that position Apple as one of the most powerful companies on earth. Most everyone understands the magnitude of Apple’s ascent from the doldrums of the late 1990s and early 2000s. But do you really understand Apple’s power in the market? If you’re not a hopeless Apple nerd like me, allow me to provide you some context:

Last Thursday, Apple’s stock hit $494/share, making Apple worth more than Microsoft and Google — combined. When you look at what Apple purportedly has lined up for this year, you realize they still have tons of upside. How successful will the iPad 3, iPhone 5, and rumored Apple TV/iTV be? I wouldn’t bet against them.

And then there are the observations from David Leonhard over at the NYTimes Economix blog:

• With a market value of about $460 billion, Apple is worth more than Google, Goldman Sachs, General Motors, Ford, Starbucks and Boeing combined.

• Apple is now worth almost twice as much as Microsoft (about $258 billion) and more than twice as much as Google ($198 billion).

• It is also worth more than twice as much as General Electric (about $202 billion), I.B.M. (about $224 billion) or Wal-Mart ($212 billion).

• Apple — ranked 35th in the Fortune 500, which is based on annual sales — is worth eight times as much as the company just below it on the Fortune list (Boeing, at about $56.5  billion). Its value is 20 times as much as the company just above it (Medco Health Solutions, about $23.4 billion).

If you want a glimpse of just what the iPhone hath created, understand that today, Apple’s iPhone business is bigger than Microsoft in its entirety. Let that sink in for a bit. Even if you removed the iPhone business from Apple, what’s left of Apple would still be worth more than Microsoft. 15 years ago, Apple was on the verge of death. And now this? Amazing.

Finally, in 4Q of 2011, Apple took 80% of all profits in the mobile space. Eighty. Percent.

All this from a company that a decade ago was making candy-colored iMacs and this thing called an iPod, which was not met with a favorable popular reaction.

My, how times have changed.

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