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Apple Is the World's No. 1 Company

No, really. Apple is, for now, the biggest company in the world in terms of market value. What a turnaround this is from the dark days of 1997, when Bill Gates floated Steve Jobs a bundle of cash just to keep Apple alive and keep regulators away from Redmond.

Of course, Gates might have been better off letting Apple die. The Department of Justice came knocking on his door with papers, anyway, and now Apple has left Microsoft not just in its rearview mirror but in the dust created by its dust. So, what does this mean for Microsoft, once the Montreal Canadiens to Apple's Boston Bruins? (Yep, snuck another one in.)

Actually, nothing. Really, it doesn't mean anything. So Apple's bigger. The biggest. The best, No. 1. So? Microsoft still has boatloads of money and rakes in plenty of revenue. Microsoft still owns the enterprise in a way Apple likely never will. And Microsoft has a product line with massive breadth and depth. Why should Microsoft worry about losing ground to Apple when Apple makes most of its money these days from consumer devices?

Other than tablets, one important area where Microsoft really does seem lost, there's no reason for Microsoft to chase Apple in most of the markets where Apple rakes in the cash -- that is to say, markets for consumer devices. Windows is still the world's dominant operating system, at least on the desktop. Microsoft does need to solidify some sort of tablet strategy, but mobile? Personal media devices? Happy fun time computers? Microsoft has no business messing around with that stuff.

As we've said here before, Microsoft needs to focus on its business roots (even, or especially, with WP7) and leave the toys to the kids, no matter how much money the toymakers pull in.

Posted by Lee Pender on August 10, 2011


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