Throughout my life I always saw Microsoft as the ominous overlord of personal computers. Windows was entrenched in every company and by association most users used it as home as well. Apple was a scrappy, niche computer company that was used mostly by graphic designers, photographers and users that didn't mind paying a premium for higher quality gear.
Then a funny thing happened.
Apple started exceeding people's wildest expectations and it engaged in a roll-reversal of sorts with Microsoft. The monolithic Microsoft put it in cruise control while it counted the revenue from Windows and Office while the scrappy Apple quietly reinvented the music player, mobile phone and tablet computer.
Yesterday Microsoft announced its fiscal Q3 2011 quarterly earnings, and while it beat expectations, its net income (a.k.a. profit) was $5.23 billion, which came up short of the $5.99 billion quarter that Apple just posted.
While Microsoft will continue to retain the desktop OS marketshare crown for the foreseeable future, Apple is dominating in the post PC-era of the smartphone and tablet computer.
A few key milestones:
- May 2010 - Apple passed Microsoft in market capitalization to become the world's most valuable tech company. MG Siegler notes that Microsofties balked: "That means nothing — look at the revenues!"
- October 2010 - Apple passed Microsoft in quarterly revenue. ("Who cares — look at the profits!")
- January 2011 - Apple became the world's second most valuable company behind only ExxonMobil (XOM)
- April 2011 - Apple passed Microsoft in quarterly net income (a.k.a. profit)