It’s official. Apple has hit the fantastic $500 billion market share valuation. The answer of how it did this is perfectly apparent to me in the image above. Apple has clearly focused delivering very tangible and radically valuable products which it virtually makes mythic through exceptional design and care (such as their retail store design picture here). On the right we see an ad from a company in the old tech guard who has refused to change and continues to try a tired marketing message with terrible stock photography and photo-shopping!
Apple hitting these ethereal valuations is one of the best things that could happen to the global market system. Yes that is a huge statement to put out there but it has very basic numbers behind it which you can check out for yourself in the list below of the most valuable public companies on the planet. The numbers are from Financial Time’s Global 500 Dec 2011 list. The numbers clearly show that most of the top dogs are focused on extracting oil of out the ground, shipping it, and selling it. While doing this does takes a lot of technology the high valuations attributed to these companies are due to the scarcity of the stuff they are dragging up and not the direct value being provided to the end-user.
For Apple though, the valuation is closely tied to the speed of growth of the company, its ability to build something tangibly valuable enough that people will pay outsized prices for it, and ultimately because they have created the expectation and track record of making products that innovate faster and better than anyone else. I don’t know about you but I would love to see plenty more companies seriously innovating their way to success in all types of industries.