“World’s most valuable company” read the headlines as Apple shares continue to soar in anticipation of the release of a new iPhone and possibly a smaller iPad tablet.
Having risen around 65 percent this year, the total value of the phone and computer giant’s stock this week hit $623 billion. That is more than Microsoft’s 1999 high of $621 billion – though adjusted for inflation Microsoft would be worth far more – over $850 billion in today’s dollars.
The fact that Microsoft, once the digital world’s top dog, is now worth a ‘mere’ $258 million shows how volatile technology stocks can be. Indeed, as Oliver Roth, an analyst with Close Brothers Seydler Bank in Frankfurt, says – look at Apple which is now without its saviour – Steve Jobs.
“Fifteen years ago they were almost bankrupt, then Steve Jobs came up again and made Apple what it is today. And there were some worries about his successor, Tim Cook. We still have to wait (to see if those worries are justified) because right now Apple is still benefiting from the ideas and the ‘ghost’ of Steve Jobs.”
Oliver Roth called that a fairy tale, but ‘the bigger they come, they harder they fall’ certainly applies to the technology sector; and the question remains – can Apple reinvent itself, as it did with the iPod, iPhone and iPad, under Steve Jobs?