Apple is as on par with Exxon Mobile. They’re in a huge growth market, as is Google, each coming at it from two different sides: hardware profit for Apple and ad revenue for Google. Both are very healthy companies, with Apple having a meteoric rise from near death in the late 90s, and Google being born from a better search engine written by two guys, to two of the fastest growing, hottest brands in the world.
Take a step back. What does this tell us?
Exxon Mobil probably does a lot of things, but they primarily sell and profit off of one of the most dependent natural resources in the world: oil. Other criteria than market capitalization suggests Walmart and Exxon are more critical the overall economy, though.
That shouldn’t undermine the crazy success we’ve seen from both companies from 2000-2011.
Why was Apple able to generate profits so rapidly? Streamlined process management, economies of scale for flash memory from iPod sales, and sweetheart deals of volume with manufacturers. Why was Google able to expand into so many markets so rapidly, scaring the living hell out of Microsoft?
Apple sells and greatly profits form the making the two best-selling mobile devices which accesses the Internet, and is rapidly expanding with new devices. Google offers the best search tool, along with amazing services, through the Internet to access information faster, all free* with ad support and data mining. They also offer, for free*, an operating system that they purchased to companies who make similar devices to Apple’s.
Both are only providing gateways (devices with screens) to Internet access made possible through media conglomerate-owned service providers that simply install the fiber optic lines to your home or towers for wireless mobile data. Internet Service Providers and wireless carriers, which are relatively new to being Internet service providers, are also highly profitable, though some investors are no longer impressed. We’ll see what 4th quarter figures look like.
Apple and Google are tripping over each other to get into China. Google struggled with the government censorship and Apple has many iPhones active in China, trying to sell more directly now that they’re on China Unicom as of September. It’s a country of 1.3 billion people. That’s a lot of eyes for ads, devices and apps. How long can an oppressive Communist regime, which censors the web so strongly, last in the 21st century?