Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Microsoft's and Apple's Product Lines Compared: This Is Why Apple Wins

"Microsoft has, for the first time, been beaten in market cap by Apple. At the close of the market today, Apple sat at $222.12 billion, a gain of 1.8%, while Microsoft went down 1% to $219.18 billion. That makes Apple, according to market cap, the most valuable tech company in the world. Yet compared to Microsoft, Apple has both less cash on hand ($23 billion vs. $35.7 billion) and less revenue ($42.9 billion vs. $58.4 billion). So the fact that the market has valued Apple higher is big news indeed.

Microsoft is massive, and like some kind of funhouse mirror gets more massive the closer you look. But it is still essentially a software company. The two biggest product lines at Microsoft are Windows, the world's most popular computer operating system (found on nine out of 10 computers), and Office, a suite of productivity tools including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. One of them is probably running in the background right now on your machine, PC or Mac.

Apple, by contrast, has three laptops in varying sizes, one all-in-one desktop, one mini desktop, and one tower desktop. All six run the same OS, also made by Apple, and include Apple's iLife software suite. Then there's the three mobile devices that run Apple's second OS, iPhone OS: the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Finally, there's the media hardware: the three "legacy" iPods (Classic, Nano, and Shuffle) and the mostly ignored Apple TV. Apple also sells accessories for these devices, including a wireless router, monitor, and keyboard and mouse. In terms of software, Apple has the two OSes, plus iTunes and its media store, and the App Store for its iPhone OS devices. They sell and service all of that stuff in Apple Stores. Really, that's about it."

Read the full story at the FastCompany by Dan Nosowitz

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