For years, Apple has thrived on the image of being the underdog, offering a hip alternative for the trendsetters that don’t want to go with the majority. The company played up the image of itself as David, facing a hydra like Goliath that has multiple heads all looking to destroy the upstart computer company that simply wanted to make the best possible hardware for the selective user. Now after years of fighting, Apple has won the war of the underdog, and now takes its place as one of the biggest companies in the world as it surpasses its most bitter rival, Microsoft.
The decades-long battle between Apple and Microsoft quickly became the stuff of legend. There was even a TV movie about the early days of the two companies and the animosity that formed between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, that ended with Microsoft having seemingly won. Microsoft soared, Jobs left, and Apple went into what Jobs later called “the wilderness years.”
The Jobs returned and the culture of Apple changed. The company assumed the underdog mantle and stopped trying to appear to be an equal to Microsoft, but rather a better alternative for a smaller group. Soon iMacs were everywhere, Macs and Macbooks became the stylish alternatives, and then everything changed. The term “MP3 player” was replaced in the pop culture lexicon by the iPod, and Apple found its niche. Apple’s profits soared, and the rest is history.
Now the results are in, and Apple is officially worth more than Microsoft. The Business Insider has a full breakdown on the numbers, but the projections are based on the enterprise value, which is the value of its actual business, not the stock market capitalization. This means that it does not include the net value of cash and debt in the company’s books.
There are other ways to look at the value of a company, but in terms of the enterprise value, Apple is worth $200 billion, while Microsoft is worth a measly $197 billion.
It is important to note that Apple does its books a bit differently than others, and Microsoft has value in other fields that aren’t counted, so the numbers may be a bit slanted. Plus with estimated values, there are always hidden costs and profits, including unannounced research, long-term investments, and dozens of other things that would skew the numbers, but it is still big news to see that Apple has caught up with Microsoft and in some ways surpassed it.
It looks like Apple is no longer a David, but has become one of the Goliaths.