One Percent: Google Takes Apple’s Crown as #1 Richest Company


As of May 12, Apple is no longer the largest public company in the world — at least according to the Dow Jones. At close of day, Google was valued at $498 billion to Apple’s mere $495 billion, although the companies have gone back and forth several times already this year.

So when financial analysts say that Apple is in trouble, it’s worth keeping in mind that the word is used loosely. Still, many investors are cooling on Apple’s financial outlook.

According to Quartz writer Matt Phillips, “The story isn’t about the rise of Google but rather the astronomical amount of shareholder value that Apple has destroyed over the past year. Apple’s market value, as tallied by data provider FactSet, has declined by more than $100 billion—with a ‘B’!—in less than a month.”

Not only that, Phillips writes, but last May “people were talking about its potential to be the first $1 trillion company. Since then, some $250 billion in paper wealth has evaporated.”

Some of Apple’s troubles are caused by its own success. Under the late Steve Jobs’ direction, Apple developed a well-deserved reputation for innovative products, helping to popularize the MP3 player, streaming music, smartphones, mobile apps, and tablet devices in short order. Normally, Apple’s new product announcements generate massive amounts of hype, but the last iPhone announcement revealed little more than a regular iPhone, but bigger.

The company has made some progress. The iPhone 5 took a little over two hours to charge fully, while the new iPhone 6 takes just one hour and 50 minutes to charge using a 12-watt USB power adapter. Progress, just not particularly exciting progress.

Part of the problem? Today, the world’s technology companies want to do everything. YouTube is testing a messaging app, while actual messaging app SnapChat is testing video streaming. Meanwhile, Apple has been trying to move into Google territory by investing in everything from self-driving cars to a Chinese ride-hailing app. In fact, Apple is expected to spend as much as $17 billion in 2017 on research and development alone.

Meanwhile, future orders for iPhones are getting lower and lower.

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