Microsoft and Apple Rumble Into Middle Age
Hugh Pickens writes “Bill Briggs writes on MSNBC that the two tech titans are rumbling into middle age as Microsoft marked its 35th birthday on Sunday and Apple turned 34 late last week. But while Microsoft, to some, appears a tad flabby in the middle — a Chrysler Town & Country driver with a 9 pm bedtime, Apple, in some eyes, looks sleeker and younger — a hipster in ragtop Beemer packed with chic friends sporting mobile toys. “The difference between the two companies is that Apple has been fearless about transformational change while Microsoft has been reluctant to leave its past behind,” says Casey Ayers, president of MegatonApps. “Microsoft has always been loath to change and risk alienating some of its customers, but its inability to leave the past behind has left their product line bloated and dysfunctional.” On current accounting ledgers, Microsoft overshadows Apple: Microsoft’s market cap is $255.75 billion; Apple’s is $213.98 billion. But Apple is getting awfully big — awfully fast — in Microsoft’s rearview mirror. Consider that a decade ago Microsoft’s market cap was almost $590 billion and Apple’s was about $16 billion. So while Apple cheered its opening weekend of iPad sales, what wish should Microsoft have made when it blew out its birthday candles Sunday? “More than anything, Microsoft’s birthday wish should be for fearless leadership,” says Ayers. “Without someone at the top who feels an urgency to constantly innovate in meaningful ways, Microsoft will shrink and become less relevant with each birthday to come.”"
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