41 Comments

Summary:

No one can deny Google’s achievements, but I think for multiple reasons Apple is the company of the decade. It has disrupted industries, reinvented others, and now is redefining the meaning of computing itself. Google’s stock performance inspires shock and awe, but pales in comparison to Apple.

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Back on the cusp of the new century, I was one of the ThinkPad people, rarely encountering Mac machines unless you counted those used by Forbes.com’s design staff. In August 2000, when I joined Red Herring (the Jason Pontin edition), I got a Pismo Powerbook running the Mac OS 9.

As a technology journalist chronicling the world of Internet and broadband, I could see that our world was going to change. All media was going to go digital and would be distributed over this new broadband network. It was a matter of when and how.

In January 2001, when Steve Jobs spoke about his digital hub strategy, a lightbulb went off in my head. Apple was going to be the company that would lead us through the transition.

Fast-forward to today, Apple has done what Jobs wanted it to do. Apple and its products have done insanely amazing things: disrupted an entire industry (music), invented new product categories, and now the iPhone is reinventing not only the mobile phone business, but the very idea of computing itself.

It has survived (so far) near-death experiences of its leader, Jobs. Most importantly, the company was smart to recognize early on that commodity hardware was merely a springboard for premium user experiences. It was also smart in remembering that mass brings morass.

No one can deny Google’s achievements, but for many reasons Apple is the company of the decade. Google’s stock performance inspires shock and awe, but pales in comparison to Apple. Look at it yourself!

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Since Google went public, the search engine giant is up nearly 500 percent. During the same time frame, Apple’s stock has climbed 1,200 percent. From 2000 to 2009, Apple’s stock was up nearly 10 times — climbing from a mere $24 a share to $211 a share at the end of 2009.

As the next decade of the 21st century rolls around, it’s becoming obvious that the battle between Google and Apple is going to dominate the headlines for years to come.

Source Apple 2.0/Fortune

  1. Apple and Jobs have been incredible. They are real innovators and I like the fact that they’re first to bring a scratch-resistant multi-touch screen and O.S./UI to the masses. That’s real innovation translated into public use.

    However, if I approach comparing Google to Apple in a fundamental way, like Buffett, but looking at the teams and technology, I prefer Google because of the heavy reliance on Engineers and Engineering, Machine Learning, as well as the technology to do analytics both within the Enterprise and outside of it.

    I have written about how both will clash in several ways as from this year:
    http://www.yashlabs.com/wp/2009/12/30/clash-of-the-titans-google-vs-apple-in-2010-and-beyond/

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    1. Interesting. I also approach the two companies in a fundamental way and get a very different answer. Neither are perfect but Apple is about design and the user and Google is about advertising and marketing information. Apple is trusted enough by consumers to have 40 million credit cards and Google has none. In three years I can see a world without Google, but not Apple.

      I am just saying Google has far more risk than Apple.

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  2. Where do Microsoft stand in this battle? Is it on its way becoming new IBM?

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    1. Cough! Cough! I am not sure where they are but I better hope they show up in the new decade with some awesomeness.

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      1. To be fair and just, I do think Microsoft showed up some awesomeness specially in the last couple of years of the decade — Windows 7, Natal, Xbox, Xbox Live, Bing and perhaps the admittedly-not-so-long list can go on. That leads me to believe they started finding a footing around 2008 and are positioned very well to continue the success .. and be not left-to-dust for perhaps atleast the next 3 years. By saying this, I don’t mean it will outperform Apple and Google (not that it can’t or won’t); I just mean it is not a company to be written off, that it is not an IBM. I may well be wrong but if I am, it’ll be a lesson to learn.

        Cheers,
        Piyush

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        1. Piyush

          I think Xbox and XBox Live are Microsoft’s true awesome products of the decade in my opinion.

          As for looking forward into the future, Microsoft will have to do amazing things to “not be an IBM.”

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      2. Positioned well? They have dropped many of their Consumer projects in 2009 and retreated to Enterprise. Windows 7 doesn’t seem to be making OEM products fly off the shelves. Zune? Windows Mobile?

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      3. @Avro:
        Sorry, I don’t know what consumer products they have dropped. Perhaps you could enlighten? Zune HD received rave, positive and surprising reviews — I won’t rule out the DNA is in place for gorgeous devices (phone, tablet, whatever) to result from those same teams. Windows Mobile certainly is where MSFT is being beaten to death and I agree the release of Mobile 7 not until 2H 2010 can cause rather significant damage to their prospects in the mobile world.

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      4. @Avro:
        Sorry, I don’t know what consumer products they have dropped. Perhaps you could enlighten? Zune HD received rave, positive and surprising reviews — I won’t rule out the DNA is in place for gorgeous devices (phone, tablet, whatever) to result from those same teams. Windows Mobile certainly is where MSFT is being beaten to death and I agree the release of Mobile 7 not until 2H 2010 can cause rather significant damage to their prospects in the mobile world.

        Cheers,
        Piyush

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  3. great article, very informative. wish I got in on apple stock a while ago. If you are interested in mac software, check out my blog http://www.theeasymac.wordpress.com

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  4. Apple is a monopoly. They exploit the consumers worse than Microsoft at the moment.

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    1. Bad try on trolling.

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    2. I disagree… They have a closed structure, not a monopoly…

      If they are a monopoly, they are a new type of it, and I hope every company follow their model and throw companies like Microsoft, who are the old outdated model of monopoly and market bully, out of the market.

      The mac is a wonderful machine, it stays out of the way and I prefer their programs over any competitive other…

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      1. For instance, blocking the access of the Palm Pre to their store, is a typical microsoft action, but this time taken by Apple.

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  5. Quote from his 2005 Stanford commencement speech says it all
    “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.”

    Outside of the stock-price, Apple stands very tall for their innovative products, which touches people’s daily life. Quality of such products shines out of their hard-work. I don’t see a comparison between Google and Apple, to be (should I say) ‘apple to apple’ as while they may converge and/or compete in one or more areas such as mobile-phone, but again I’m sure Apple will stand out. Their history, Steve Jobs’ vision and record so far is a proof of that.

    A great inspiring speech : http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

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  6. It’s unfair to make the stock comparison with a (virtually arbitrary) starting date/price of Google’s IPO. That ignores the fact that Google was valued at, probably, only a few million dollars when the decade began. Employees who started in early 2002 had option exercise prices of $0.30. Given that as a starting date/price, Google handily crushes AAPL.

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    1. I agree. Very unfair to compare Google and Apple stock prices over a decade especially since at the beginning of the comparison timeline Google was just moving out of a garage while Apple was trading stock at around $35 a share.

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  7. Apple is worst monopoly company worst than Microsoft always was and always will be a minority company..with market share globally more than 3-4% at the best (not everybody can or will pay for apple tax ) , to compare apple with anything is waste of time it just doesn’t have volumes or market share .Only they can innovate is some jazzy UI build on top of opensource unix kernel/webkit . I hope google along with open source communities will lead to market correction

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    1. what about Apple’s market share in the digital music business, specially the Ipod? Where’s Sony? And don’t even tell me about the Zune…

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      1. its still a minority player in music business max share 8 to 10% in global market…which is on its way down ….read this article in business week http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2004/tc20040527_8900_tc056.htm …Also with the advent of music phones/smart phones no one is going overpriced ipods ….even the entry level phones in mp3 player

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    2. Calling Apple a monopoly and at the same time a minority player is oxymoronic. Go to the dictionary and look up the definiton of the word “monopoly”.
      This makes as much sense as a tea-bagger calling Mr. Obama a communist and fascist at the same time.

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    3. gp… You start by saying Apple is a monopoly and then say it only has 3-4% globally? Think you need to head back to school and study up on what monopolies truly are. Jazzy UI? Yes if jazzy mean better. Clearly much better than open source alternatives. Problem with open source it’s like trying to herd cats. Key to Apple success is company has some clear focus and direction.

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      1. monopoly definition “In economics, a monopoly (from Greek monos / μονος (alone or single) + polein / πωλειν (to sell)) exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it.”
        when you control everything from hardware to software and refuse your run OS /software system anything than your own hw/ vendor …you are exerting influence and forcing users to buy overpriced solution / hw at premium … and create a lockin …..

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      2. People can buy Linux and Windows hardware and software. No one forces you to buy a Mac. So no computer monopoly and Apple doesn’t try to block off the competition.

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  8. Chetan Conikee Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Speaking of microsoft, will project natal (XBox) shine microsoft and perhaps lead the era of “no controllers” ?
    What’s your take on this facet :)

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  9. Why is Apple your company of the decade? Because they’re everyone’s company of the decade. In every market, everyone wants to be “the apple”. It doesn’t take any sort of analysis to see that. Predict next decade’s company, that takes analysis.

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  10. Apple is a monopoly? Not in a legal sense. You mean they won’t let you run OS X on your junk? That is what is called smart business.

    4% Perhaps if you include every Windows box sitting in warehouse somewhere in the world. Amongst consumers closer to 1 in 3 in North America and Western Europe.

    You see more GM cars than Mercedes. That doesn’t make GM better.

    Microsoft has done nothing this decade.
    X Box? – Reliability Nightmare.
    Windows Mobile? – The Model T of the Smartphones.
    Zune? – Too little too late.
    Vista – Need one say more.

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    1. Windows 7? I think that was something Microsoft did…

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      1. Indeed they did and didn’t seem to mess up too much on that one. Damning with faint praise, methinks.

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