- Microsoft surpassed Apple as the most valuable US company when markets opened on Wednesday.
- The last time Microsoft was worth more than Apple was in 2010.
- The technology industry has changed a lot since then.
Microsoft dethroned Apple as the most valuable US company when trading opened on Wednesday.
The largely symbolic and brief milestone came less than two months after Apple’s market cap reached a peak above $US1.12 trillion, significantly above Microsoft’s peak of $US887 billion. Apple was even the first US company with a $US1 trillion valuation. But since then, Apple’s stock has gotten whacked based on fears of slowing iPhone demand, seemingly confirmed by the company when it said on November 1 that it would no longer disclose iPhone unit sales.
The last time that Microsoft was more valuable than Apple was back in 2010 – eons ago in the fast-moving technology market.
On the day that Apple overtook Microsoft back then, Apple was worth only about $US222 billion in terms of total market capitalisation – compared to Microsoft’s $US219 billion. (Before that, the last time the two companies switched places was in 1989.)
In fact, just a quick recap of what products were on the market back then will make you realise it was an entirely different era:
Microsoft was still selling the Zune — it wouldn’t be discontinued until 2011.
The Zune was a portable music player that was supposed to compete with Apple’s iPod. It came with 32GB of built-in storage.
It was launched in 2006 but was never as successful as the iPod.
Microsoft was still supporting the Xbox 360.
If you bought a new PC, it would come with Windows 7 pre-installed. If you had to install it, it also came on CDs.
Remember Windows Phone?
Apple at the time was still being led by CEO Steve Jobs, who was starting to pass the baton to now-CEO Tim Cook.
The state-of-the-art iPhone at the time was the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 4 would be launched weeks later.
In 2010, Apple sold about 40 million iPhones. In 2017, Apple sold 216 million iPhones.
The iPad was just a few months old back in 2010.
Apple was also still selling a ton of iPods, including the iPod Classic.
You could get a MacBook computer in white if you wanted.
There aren’t just big changes in terms of hardware. This is what Facebook looked like in 2010.
Facebook wouldn’t IPO for two more years. On Monday, it had a market capitalisation of $US390 billion.
Instagram did not yet exist.
It launched in 2011 and this is what it looked like then.
The president was Barack Obama, who was wrapping up the first half of his first term.
That year, Business Insider declared Groupon, Foursquare, Amazon Kindle, Netflix streaming, and Flipboard as some of the top winners in tech that year.
Kindles still had physical keyboards.
Some of the “flops” from that year included Google Buzz, Microsoft’s “Kin” phones, and iTunes Ping, a short-lived social network from Apple.
Read the entire list here.
Of course, nothing really changes when Microsoft and Apple trade places in terms of total market value. But it’s still a good opportunity to remember how much can change in eight years.
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