back to article Apple loses 'Most Valuable Company' honor to ExxonMobil

Apple lost its crown as the most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalization on Friday, as the world's exchanges continue to downgrade its stock price. Apple's stock price peaked in September at just over $700 per share, but has been falling steadily ever since. But in the last week, the world's exchanges …

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ExxonMobile?

Um, just one 'e' in that name…

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ExxonMobile?

No, that's a different company. This one makes phones

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Meh

Re: ExxonMobile?

Electronic tech v Oil

Apples v Pears

Until of course Exxon have another oils spill......

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Joke

Re: ExxonMobile?

you say oil spill, i say antenna

:-D

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Re: ExxonMobile?

Even with an oil spill, Exxon could spank Apple longer term. Exxon could weather two oil spills.

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Re: ExxonMobile?

Antenna

Maps

Dodgy Wi-Fi

Purple tinted photos

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Re: ExxonMobile?

Well ExxonMobile runs on oil, that's a very limited resource. While Jobs has managed to turn Apple into a company tapping into a virtually unlimited resource....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple ... tapping into a virtually unlimited resource...

Gullibility?

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Anonymous Coward

Rockefeller

About 100 years ago, the Rockefeller had a big company that the government split into 29 smaller companies. One of those small companies, is also known as ExxonMobile, the largest company. Rockefeller is a really wealthy family. Everybody talks about the richest person on earth (Bill Gates $50 billion), but why dont they talk about the richest family? Rockefellers are originally from Germany, and known as Rockenfeller.

Of course, Rockefellers are poor and not worth chicken shit compared to the Rotschilds. It is estimated that the German origin Rotschilds, own and control $600.000 billion today. Not a typo. These super rich families (Guggenheim also from Germany, etc) are estimated to own 70-80% of everything on earth. Everything. It is said that a few rich own everything, and that is true. If you are a Rotschild, you can not buy things, you buy companies. Large companies. What happens if Rotschilds say that "Apple is good"? Or "Google is good"? Or "Linux is good"?

Curiously, new ground breaking research shows that a few large companies, control almost every other company on earth. The entire world economy is controlled by few companies: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc. Read the about the research here:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html

These few companies cooperate very tightly on all important matters. They act as one. Why? Are they owned by someone? Who owns these few large companies?

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Re: Rockefeller

Are you implying that the Rotschilds could suddenly "buy Linux"?

Just asking.

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Some sense at last

The fact that any tech such as Apple, Google, Microsoft etc are capable of arriving in this position is actually a very disheartening state of affairs.

Our lives are completely based around that which we do not require. I admit to being part of this situation but I have just not found an alternative which I am willing to pursue.

Consumerism, really is a plague..

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Re: Some sense at last

I'd be more disheartened if someone was making enough profit selling water and air to feature up the top of the list...

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Re: Some sense at last

>I'd be more disheartened if someone was making enough profit selling water and air to feature up the top of the list...

Gasping by Ben Elton:

The script of Ben Elton's first play. A satire on big business, the media and product exploitation. Designer air proves to be the marketing phenomenon of the decade, but as demand outstrips supply, Lockheart Industries plunders the Third World for resources. The world is starting to gasp, and only the biggest suckers survive.

-http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1060812.Gasping

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Facepalm

Re: Some sense at last

... the rats leaving the sinking ship ...

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Re: Some sense at last

"The script of Ben Elton's first play. A satire on big business, the media and product exploitation"

Just the sort of Guardianista codswallop you'd expect from talent free lefty gobshites like him.

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Re: Some sense at last

:applause!:

At last, some intelligence. ExxonMobil has billions, maybe even up to a trillion, dollars worth of true capital in the form of tanker ships, drilling platforms, refineries, tanker trucks, franchise agreements, buildings, miscellaneous equipment AND 'good will'.

"Good will" - the completely imaginary accounting index that increases the value of your asset by sheer belief - yours, that your assets are truly worth that much, and theirs, that you in total *can* be worth that much.

Apple has several hundred million in buildings and equipment, distribution agreements and company owned dealerships, manufacturing agreements that far surpass their built-in manufacturing abilities, miscellaneous equipment...and billions of dollars of "good will".

And somehow Apple's billions of "good will" makes it more IRL valuable that ExxonMobil's billions upon billions of dollars in real assets?

It just goes to show you how entrenched the iSheep mentality is in our overburdened, consumerist, "It's all about me!" world.

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FAIL

Re: Some sense at last

"lefty gobshites"

EPIC FAIL for using the word lefty.

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Anonymous Coward

If I were Apple I would start buying up at least some of my own shares with that cash mountain - they have enough to re-buy over 1/3 of the company. The fact that ex-cash they trade on a PE of something like 6-7 (compare that to Microsoft or Google) makes them look fantastic value (IMHO).

Considering the facts like sales were well up (tablet sales up around 49%) despite them having supply issues almost across the board, that is was a 13 week quarter (compared to 14 weeks a year ago) and increased capital expenditure - they are strong figures.

If you want a laugh have a look at the PE of Amazon ;)

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Stop

Too risky?

Maybe Apple won't buy their own shares back because they think they are a risky purchase? Didn't they announce that they intend instead to spend a fair wedge of their cash reserves on trying to develop something 'new'? Perhaps portrait TV sets for iPhone-captured video?

Personally, yeah, I think the Apple bubble looks like it's finally ready to burst, or at least is getting like an old saggy balloon with all the helium leaking out. Apple is beyond boring now. They've benefited from being 'in' for long enough. Hopefully they'll start to return to a market share more representative of their actual usefulness as a manufacturer of technology products for users who don't like to think too hard and can take them into a shop on the high street for 'repairs' when they unwittingly f**k them up.

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Re: Too risky?

Who knows, maybe there is another "must have" product category" around the corner... not everyone working towards such a thing is going to be advertising it.

People are saying Apple are boring because they, and their competitors, have crammed about as much current technology as they can in something the size of a phone- it is the category that Apple work in that has got boring. Not that this is a bad thing for the consumer: I find it interesting that Sony's new flagship phones and tablets are waterproof; rather than further up the specs, they are making their products better for real-world use.

A period of less radical (some say 'boring') development allows refinement.

When technology does advance to allow 'the next big thing' (as 1.8" HDDs, cheap flash memory and capacitive screens did for MP3 players, phones and tablets in the past), Apple are in as good a position as anyone, since they have a mountain of cash, a talent for putting out a clear message to the consumer, and the ability to act unilaterally if they need to.

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Re: Too risky?

"Maybe Apple won't buy their own shares back because they think they are a risky purchase? "

Another possible reason is that most of Apple's cash sits in jurisdictions other than the US (eg, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, etc.), so cannot be used to purchase shares without being brought back, and taxed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Too risky?

Bubble?

Perhaps you need to go back to school to understand what the notion of a "bubble" means.

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@Andrew_b65

Apple has $137 billion in cash reserves (it would be over $100 billion even if they brought all the offshore cash back to the US and paid taxes on it) How in the hell could they ever hope to spend a "fair wedge of" $137 billion developing something new? I think you have no concept of how that amount compares to the R&D budgets of even companies that do a lot of R&D like IBM. It would take even them several decades at minimum to go through it, and they do more true research than anyone these days.

There are only two uses for a cash pile that size. One, give it back to the shareholders via buybacks or dividends. Two, spend it on acquiring other companies. Apple acquires other companies, but they have never done the type of big (and IMHO stupid) acquisitions that companies like HP, Microsoft and Google do. They buy little companies for a few hundred million dollars. Who knows, maybe Cook will feel differently and buy some big company for many billions of dollars. As a shareholder, I sure hope not and I couldn't think of any big company Apple could buy that would be worth it.

Hell, if they could find the next Warren Buffett and put him in charge of that cash pile and have him start investing it even that would be better than spending money on acquisitions. Just spin off a new company to manage all that cash and issue shares in the new company to existing shareholders. If they don't want to own it, they can sell it to those who do. Of course, everything about that is quite simple aside from the "find the next Warren Buffett" part. :)

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Facepalm

Dividends

I noted that Apples last dividend payment was just over $2 dollars a share... so if I'd held 1000 Apple shares when it was trading at around $700 dollars I would have expected a check for $200 dollars on my $70000 dollar investment.... mmmm not a very good rate of return... even more so when considering if that now my investment would be now down to $45k, a $25k loss... ouch... no wonder Apple share owning ifanbois are foaming at the mouth

Having said that.. what is more unbelievable is the P/E ratios for Facebook (293) and Amazon (3800) considering the market capitalization of both, Facebook worth 69 billion dollars... ha ha ha

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Mushroom

Re: Dividends

correction:

1000 @ $700 = $700k.. so a $200 return for a $700k investment.!! and a $250k loss!

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Re: Dividends

Well sure if you buy at the high you can make almost anything look like a bad investment. Which is worse, Apple that has gone down by a little less than 40% from its high in just a few months, or Microsoft, which is down by just over 60% from its high, which was reached a month shy of THIRTEEN YEARS AGO?

Dividend yield of 2% for Apple is pretty good considering they are using a fraction of their cash to generate it. They could triple their dividend to a yield of 6%, making it one of the highest dividends around and still have plenty of cash left over after every quarter. Whether that would still be true in 5-10 years is another matter, but you can say the same thing about any tech company. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon - any of them who today are where Sun was a decade ago or RIM was a half decade ago could be where Sun and RIM are today by 2020. Or could be even bigger than they are today. That's the nature of the tech business. You want stability, you buy utilities. They won't see big growth but they'll keep paying that high dividend yield forever, since people will always need energy.

Keep in mind that the highs for both Apple and Microsoft were reached after quick growth and then the stock quickly dropped, so there aren't very many people who will have bought at the top. Almost all who did were probably adding to existing positions, and their average cost per share may still be well below $450 so it remains overall a good investment for them. Not as good as it could have been if they sold at $700 and then rebought tomorrow, but market timing is for suckers.

If I could give my younger self investment advice I'd tell him to take out college and credit card loans as big as possible and buy up MSFT, and then right after New Year's on 2000, dump it all and buy Apple. Even with the recent decline in Apple I'd still be worth hundreds of millions. The fact no one ever times the market so precisely is the best proof there is that time travel is impossible :)

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Facepalm

You're polishing the turd wrong

The iSheep are starting to see what you've been doing to them all these years.

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Headmaster

Re: "You're polishing the turd wrong" Ahem, Mr Vistakin you may have noticed that I........

..........am not exactly a friend of the iFruit company (to put it very mildly). Even so, unless you are entirely content with preaching to your particular choir and are totally uninterested in persuading anyone else of your point of view you might make a start by dropping such epithets as "iSheep". Persuasion and insult do not make a good cocktail in debate.

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Holmes

Peak

Everything has a peak.

Apple may make obscene profit margin for the next ten years, but at the end of the day they have very few products and are vulnerable to fashion. There hasn't been a compelling reason to buy an Apple product for maybe 15 years. Video editing, Photo editing, Desktop publishing, Tablet Internet consumption, phone usage, Pocket Music player etc can all be done just as productively more cheaply on many other products, with many manufacturers offering more variation of models in price, features and style.

Apple are arrogant and offer little choice. They have been more successful than their product warrants on ipod, iPhone and iPad, but eventually those will be niche products just like iMac and mac Air, unless there is a change in Apple Corporate philosophy. A change in Apple marketing and pricing philosophy could backfire and cut profits even if market share increased, and could even reduce market share.

There is no doubt a large part of the success of Apple has been to hide complexity and make the products seem simple to use with a consistent GUI that doesn't change pointlessly with each release (Hello MS and Ubuntu!).

Perhaps eventually Apple products will become higher quality and more expensive and they will settle down to a 10% peak market share with high margin. This is probably a better strategy that trying to have a majority share and offer cheaper products where you can easily fall off a cliff (Chrysler, MS Win CE PDA, MS Win phone, Nokia, Sun, Wang, DEC).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Peak

Do you even know why Apple computers made it into the video editing market in the first place?

They were massively cheaper than the competition.

Same goes for music production, Steinberg wanted £500+ for Cubase and you needed their dongle stuffed in a valuable USB port.

Logic Studio was about £300 last time I looked with no dongle required, sure you need a more expensive machine to run it on, but the performance and reliability has always been better. Some of these USB dongles are doing crazy things now to try to stop the software being cracked like decrypting code that is about to be run, big CPU drain.

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Re: Peak

+1

I recently switched to Logic Pro and it's a cracking piece of software. IMO Apple software like this is very good VFM. OK, Apple had some grief over their latest Final Cut Pro (dumbed down I understand to a more prosumer level), but an exception rather than the rule.

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Mushroom

Re: Peak

so it's cheaper, except when it aint

and it's better (which it clearly isnt)

cubase = £500

LS = £300

Reaper = £0

how do you like them apples?

Fair enough reaper is available for macs (but it's definitely the red headed step-child of the group) and the installation package weighs half as much again. as for performance i couldn't say - i don't know anyone running it.

Seems to me, over the years that you could always build a billy big balls pc for the price of a bog standard mac. but the kind of ponces that do graphic design thought they were getting better value cos it was pretty (well they would wouldn't they)

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Re: Peak

@ Naughtyhorse

Reaper isn't free!

A non-commercial licence is $60, full commercial is $225.

Logic Pro is £140

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Stop

Re: Peak

Funny definition of £0 you have there. It's $225 for a commercial license, and $60 for private use. There's also plenty of argument over which is better.

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Re: Peak

reaper can be used, indefinitely for non commercial projects for nothing - just has a nag screen thassall

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Re: Peak

plenty of argument??

Reaper is without question the best DAW I have come across in the last 30 years. It models a real world studio pretty much perfectly and then adds the convenience of computerisation on top - unlike the competition that are basically tarted up sequencers - great if you are a geek, next to useless if you are a muso.

REAPER is distributed under two licenses. Users can choose between a license targeted to private individuals or one targeted to organizations. There is a nag screen (only displayed at startup) which is disabled through licensing the product, and there_is_no_copy_protection. you don't need to licence it at all! it's not crippled in any way. not only great software, but a great company ethos too, so i licensed it :-)

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Re: Peak

Actually, I think the RISC/PowerPC processors used were much better at graphics during the early pentium era. Some people still like apple publishing software because buying it can be a lot easier. Buy one package and get nearly all of it, some of the x86 software is still sold as basic+packages, and it gets really expensive.

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@Mage

No reason to buy an Apple product for 15 years, apart from the fact that they made the first decent smart phone and invented the tablet market...

I don't like them, I don't own any of their products, but you can't just ignore reality, they have been massively innovative for the past 15 years, hence their resurgence.

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Nya
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Re: @Mage

You're confusing innovation with marketing.

Ipods. Stolen off Creative (of which Creative got very little in the way of the lawsuits) but they claim to of pretty much created the MP3 player market.

Smartphone’s. Nope, the LG Prada was out before it with hmm, full phone touch screen, rather shiny and a grid system for applications. But no, the marketing shovelling proclaimed they innovated again.

Tablets Apple copied the design off HP and released it as innovation. All they did was take a HP TC1000 make it thinner and stick a mobile OS on it. Dress it up with lots of marketing spin and proclaim they invent everything. Nothing innovative at all!

Apple doesn't innovate. If it did it might actually spend a decent amount on actually researching and innovating. It doesn’t. Just look at expenditure on research and Apple doesn’t do much at all compared to IBM, HP, MS and Samsung, hell even Nokia spend more! Now marketing expenditure ohh yes, now their it does lead the way by a huge margin!

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Mushroom

Re: @Nya

Good points, but I would like to add more detail.

You're quite right that Apple have rarely truly innovated. Most of their innovations have been done by someone else before.

Apple's true advantage lay in two areas. The first was in attention to detail and a strong direction. Steve Jobs, once involved in a project, dominated it. Don't want Steve's idea of an email client? Tough. That's all Apple will give you. But it was, admittedly, above average. And that was enough.

Their second advantage lies in two distinct but related areas - marketing and journalists. Apple have great marketing, and that helps. But many journalists aren't actually technical - they're writers who are merely ten percent more technical than the average person. Therefore they use Macs, because they're prevalent in the industry (due to an early GUI and availability of DTP software) and are personal users. Apple benefits from a very friendly Press.

So you're right that Apple's innovation was, in every case, not actually so. From MP3 players to capacitive screens to multi-touch, Apple has been as innovative as a block of granite. But they know how to do a demo, and their three-ring circus with Jobs as ringmaster was certainly good copy.

Apple are not dumb. They knew the iPod would be cannibalised by phones - remember the iTunes phone they did with Motorola before the iPhone? They have a good grasp of the market, and have proven themselves to be adept at pre-empting their competitors by entering the market early - witness phones and tablets.

Their weakness is in their uncritical belief in their own bullshit. There is no reason to have a tablet smaller than 10" - until eBook readers primed the market, and Google/Asus stormed it with the 7" Nexus. And Apple had to ship a smaller iPad.

There is no reason to have a larger phone, as your thumb can't reach that far. Until the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2 sold like hot cakes, and Apple had to put a larger screen on their next iPhone.

Journalists are very happy today to forget that we had Apps on a Palm/Handspring Treo or Windows Mobile devices almost a decade ago, or that the original iPhone was web apps only despite not being 3G... But Apple's packaging and marketing make up for both history and shortcomings.

No one thing Apple has done has been truly innovative or ground-breaking. But they can more than make up for that with positive press coverage from poor "technology" journalists.

Their big problem now is that they charge more as a luxury brand, yet deliver less due to their obsessive control. Their competitors aren't necessarily better, but are at least both cheaper and more flexible.

Except even the most technologically illiterate journalists can't help but notice Apple losing their lead now.

Apple are in the a corner - give up control and risk loss of profits and bad publicity, or carry on and hope to work on high margins as a luxury brand. I suspect they will continue as a luxury brand for as long as they can, before moving slowly back to obscurity. They certainly show few signs of wanting to give up control, being fanatical about both what their devices can do and what they will allow themselves to take 30% of in their stores...

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Devil

Re: @Nya

Broken analysis.

You CANNOT sell a kitchen chair as a Volkswagen. Absolutely no amount of "marketing", good press, advertising, bribes or anything else will cause this to happen.

Apple's secret is that they make good products and they have the rest of what is needed to produce and sell these products (non-trivial skills btw). Good products are relatively easy to sell to an eager market, and even easier second time around. Revenues of US$B200+ are not achieved on the basis of good marketing of crap products.

I realise this offends the fandroids here, and the geeks who think that their opinions have merit and that they are "smarter" than the Apple executives, but hey, stiff shit!

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Re: @Nya

Well, looking at my personal experience of Apple products and the rest, as well as the experience of others, I have to say that Apple used to have high quality products, but that kinda was phased out when Jobs came.

Slowly it was normal for an iBook to have a "logic board failure", even several times in a row, and batteries were glued in.

Apple has moved from a "workstation" company, producing decently engineered products made with high quality standards in the US, to a company selling consumer crap at professional prices. Just like Medion does in Germany.

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Re: @Mage

"All they did was take a HP TC1000 make it thinner and stick a mobile OS on it."

You my friend are talking shite. I had a TC1000 - they were Compaq then, not HP - and it was a very underpowered WinXP laptop with a novelty pen. Too heavy and maybe a couple of hours battery life, a tablet of today it most definitely was NOT!

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Anonymous Coward

I bought £500 worth of Apple shares in 1993 and last year they had grown (108x) such that I was able to buy a new ex-demo Audi A8L.

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Facepalm

So I can buy Apple stock today and in 20 years time get myself an Audi? I can think of several stocks that would allow me to do the same, doesn't have to be Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Well I suggest you go do it and get a job as a banker / hedge fund manager. 108x growth over 20 years is not to be sniffed at.

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Anonymous Coward

Sold Apple

You sold 'em too, eh? From the drop in Apple stock it looks like you're in good company.

I can't applaud you on your trading however because it is trading shares for growth/loss which has crippled the global economy. Whilst the demand for shares and therefore their price can easily be manipulated by casino bankers and their co-conspirators, it's not so easy to fake profits and dividends. We're all doomed.

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