Apple Overtakes Microsoft

May 27, 2010
By

“‘There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”
Steve “Monkeyboy” Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft

Quick historical point of note: As of Wednesday’s close, Apple (AAPL) has overtaken Microsoft (MSFT) in market cap for the first time since 1989.

Apple is now — if only for now, we’ll see how long it lasts — bigger than Microsoft! Twenty-one years is a long time for revenge…

This is as much a tragic embarrassment for Mister Softee as it is a grand triumph for Apple. MSFT has seen its market cap get buzzsawed over the past decade — with much thanks to Steve Ballmer.

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I’ve long thought Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was a blowhard, a testosterone fueled chest thumper, and an all around destroyer of shareholder value. I went into the gmail archives and pulled up this note to a friend from 2006:

From what I can see, Ballmer and Gates weren’t happy presiding over a cash rich monopoly with a sunset factor measured in decades. So they decided to take all that cash they were throwing off and plow it into dubious money-losing initiatives in an attempt to ‘beat’ young upstarts like Google. And the farther they stray from their core competence (Office & Windows), the more crazy their efforts look.

Maybe call it Don Quixote syndrome.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but I wonder how much this was telegraphed. Ballmer is one of the most arrogant guys I’ve ever seen, and he is on record as saying he wants to “f*ng kill Google” as chairs flew around his office.


So, now that Microsoft’s embarassment has been painfully crystallized in a glaring point of shame — the loss of market cap dominance to Apple — will the chest-thumping. chair-throwing, Google-chasing, cash-hemmorhaging, zune-funding, ipod-stomping Ballmer finally get the axe?

So much for all those developers…

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