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The Microsoft Comes Around

A funny thing happened a couple weeks back: Microsoft became the most valuable company in terms of ma
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The Microsoft Comes Around
By M.G. Siegler • Issue #145 • View online
A funny thing happened a couple weeks back: Microsoft became the most valuable company in terms of market capitalization. As a reminder, it’s 2018. Not 1998. This was not supposed to happen.
It feels like a decade ago that Apple surpassed Microsoft in every meaningful business metric. (To be fair, it was nine years ago that they surpassed Microsoft in market cap.) Then Apple went on to take down the behemoth (at the time) Exxon, to become the most valuable company. And that continued for years culminating in being the first company to sail past the trillion dollar valuation. There was simply no stopping Apple. In fact, the only way they were going to get overtaken was because Amazon was growing even faster, as they too surpassed the $1 trillion mark.
And yet, here we are. Today, Microsoft is worth some $33 billion more than Apple. And $30 billion more than Amazon. Microsoft, at $833 billion, is once again the stock market king.
But why? And how? Well beyond the obvious falls of Apple and Amazon (relatively speaking, of course), Microsoft has fared far better in the broader market sell-off of recent weeks and months. But there’s clearly something more fundamental going on: Microsoft is back in growth mode.
After the lost decade of Steve Ballmer, it seemed impossible to think Microsoft would ever return to such growth. Sure, Ballmer figured out how to milk the profits, but Wall Street wasn’t buying it. And neither was the public, as the consumer side of the business was left for dead. From laughing at the iPhone to buying Nokia on his way out the door, Ballmer tried his damndest to torpedo the company.
Then in walked Satya Nadella with a crazy plan: forget selling packaged software, we’re a services business now. This general game plan has worked in the past, with IBM a couple decades ago (though with the latest Red Hat Hail Mary, we’ll see…), and more recently with Adobe. But never like this. Again, Microsoft is a growth company again. And Wall Street can’t get enough.
There’s a long-standing joke amongst Apple-watchers about the company being “doomed”. Basically, it has been said about Apple every single year since it was actually doomed, all those years ago. Of course, as noted above, Apple has thrived in a way no other company has before them. But we are now seeing a world in which Apple falls. Not doomed, mind you. But no longer the most valuable company in the world. Because the stock market is all about buying the future. And Apple’s growth has stalled.
And it will be very, very hard for them to get back to growth. Not because they’re not a great company, but because their key product, the iPhone, was one of the —if not the — greatest product ever, from a business perspective. It doesn’t just seem unlikely that they’ll be able to top it, it seems impossible.
Of course, I would have said the same thing about Microsoft…
Drinking: a Magnolia Kalifornia Kolsch 🍻

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Why Doctors Hate Their Computers
The Holidays are Nintendo Labo’s Last Chance
Mario Segale, Who Inspired Nintendo to Name Super Mario, Dies at 84
Reflections on Becoming a Parent
What the Hell Happened to Darius Miles?
This Tweet Has Aged Well...
M.G. Siegler
52 days into Nadella's reign, and Microsoft already seems like it's in a better place than it has been in years.
10:26 AM - 27 Mar 2014
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Apple’s Aim to Please Event
A Giphy To Go
The Man Comes Around
The Man Comes Around
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M.G. Siegler

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