back to article Apple tops Microsoft market cap, revenue, and profits

Microsoft's quarterly profits leapt 31 per cent during its third quarter. But that wasn't enough to stop a world of Apple fanbois from pointing towards Redmond and laughing. After surpassing Microsoft's market capitalization and its quarterly revenues, Apple has now surpassed its quarterly profits. In the Apple quarter ending …


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  1. Lee Mulcahy

    How about profit over revenue?


    Microsoft: 5.23 billon / 16.43 billion = ~31.8%

    Apple: 5.99 billion / 24.67 billion = ~24.3%

    I wonder whose money worked harder?

    1. joe_bruin

      math is hard

      Apparently you don't understand the difference between selling software and selling hardware. See, with software, you make one GM disc and then replicate it a billion times. The only cost to you after non-recurring engineering is the price of a DVD or a download. When you sell hardware, you have to actually make every piece and pay for components on each one beyond the non-recurring engineering work you did developing the hardware and software that runs on it. By your numbers, Apple is making 24.3% selling devices of which a significant amount of money needs to be paid out for each sale, whereas Microsoft is making 31.8% selling plastic discs that cost nothing.

      If you need it spelled out: Microsoft spends FAR FAR FAR more on R&D than Apple does for significantly smaller returns.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton

        Maths might be hard but not in this case...

        Profit is revenue less cost. It's irrelevant whether those costs comprise lots of cheap (to manufacture) things or fewer, more expensive things.

        /Paris (in the absence of an 'economist' icon)

    2. Robert Synnott

      RE: How about profit over revenue?

      Microsoft's main sources of revenue are aging cash cows (Windows Client, Office), while Apple's are newish and under very heavy development. In addition, Apple is a hardware company, Microsoft is a software company; due to marketplace realities profit margins on hardware always have to be low-ish, as that's what the competition are doing.

      1. David Webb
        Jobs Horns

        Title of a title is a title no less

        Did you not read the linked article? I'm guessing not as you're spouting typical nonsense. Profits from MS are from strong sales from it's Office and XBox division. Now, the last time I had a look at my XBox 360 it looked like a big chunky bit of hardware (not as svelte as my PS3 mind you) but it doesn't look like software to me.

        Of course, now that Apple is a common device which every 14 year old chav and their 2 year old kid has, that makes Microsoft the cool, hip company and Apple the chavtastic device.

        Mind you, when OSX 10.7 comes out, I wonder what bits of Linux and Windows they will copy over and claim they designed and that X company copied from them.

      2. ph0b0s

        Microsoft is a software company...

        Ignoring all those consoles out there, that is. Those consoles that have cut into their profits due to the amount of hardware failures. I bet they wish they were a just a software company at the moment.....

        But if they are such different companies, doing different things, why are we comparing their profits at all?

  2. Mikel

    No mention of Windows Phone 7 sales

    So here, I'll do it:

    Not good. Row 117 is what you're looking for.

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      My first experience if google docs. Don't think there will be another. I never got to row 117.

  3. Paul 129
    Gates Halo

    Need another metric

    All though Apple had closed the gap, Im sure MS would be infront In the most despised company metric.

    Anyone at microsoft care to throw money at me for a report?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Gates Horns

      Is that..

      The "most despised" company metric or the most despised "company" metric?

    2. Ian Davies

      No, but...

      ...I'll throw some money at you to get a better grasp of spelling.

  4. E Haines


    Not this again. The $150 million in stock in 1997 was a cross-licensing agreement that benefitted MS at least as much as it did Apple. Apple had well over $1B in cash at the time, which may be a far cry from the ludicrous mountain of bucks they have today, but nevertheless they were not in any immediate danger of going under, so the $150M made no significant difference even then. (MS ended up selling all the stock before long anyway; bit of a dumb move since they could have made billions if they'd held onto it longer.)

    1. Player_16

      '...Microsoft poured $150 million into a struggling Apple...'

      'But this is ancient history.' - The sentence is a condensed reference and wasn't really meant to be taken out of context. Next time, IF you care to, let it absorb into your skull.

  5. redniels

    1 product makes 50% of turnover/margin (according to this article.)

    1 product. one. let me spell it out O-N-E. the Iphone4. does that look like a healthy base for the future?

    looks more like a one trick pony. what happens when that pony breaks a leg? or gets runover in the coming 'droid storm? (LG 2x speed, Galaxy S2, Experia Arc/play, etc)

    are they (Apple) going to sue every global partner(Samsung now, foxcon next?) they have?

    Charly S. would say: does not sound like WINNING!


    everyone is already writing of Nokia. I still have a problem with that: It's the slumbering giant in the dark corner. What happens if Elop gets it to finally awake with the MS dosh?

    I'm saying: the race hasn't even started yet: it's really starting this summer. tough times ahead. for Nokia, MS and yes: Apple too.

    back to the issue of market cap: MS is diverse: Consumer(Xbox), Workstation(Wintel) and server(exchange/SQL/etc) markets. Apple is not. MS can take a hit in phones. Apple can not.


    like it or not: St. Steve is Dying. (not that many people recover from (liver) cancer. better: none in my experience. money can prolong, but that's it: prolong.

    Can someone else focus the company the same way?


    MS is the comeback kid: they always where late to market, but when they truly entered the shitstorm began..

    (PC DOS vs MS DOS. Apple/AtariSt vs Win3.1. Groupware/Notes vs Exchange. Netscape vs Iexplore. Sega/Sony/Nintendo vs Xbox. )


    Winmo7 LOCAL sales are being held against Android and IOS GLOBAL sales. Winmo7 is NOT localised yet: it only supports English speaking countries. like it or not: 80% of the world is NOT english speaking. or reading. localised version will start to appear this summer. and I suspect they will be launched with a lot of rattle.. And I also suspect that then, Winmo7 will start to sell a lot better..

    thank you for reading and sorry for the long post.

    1. Robert E A Harvey
      Gates Horns

      Winmo7 is NOT localised yet

      What? Is that true? That seems both unforgivable and astonishing in the present market. Just what were they doing before they released it? Testing the games?

      1. redniels

        yup. True.

        No german, Dutch, French, polish, whatever: only English.

        even the "app store" (or whatever it's called) doesn't work outside UK/US/AUS without some tinkering.

        My guess to why: The current winMO is like what Win3.0 was: a big fat open beta for which they even get paid by some! (7% market share in the US) only in te 2nd half of 2011 the real WinMO will arrive together with (how convenient) the new Nokia's. I've seen Winmo and I like. A lot! but here, in Holland it truly is a beta experience: no appmarket among others, So I decided to wait...

        Didn't you find it..strange there are only a few Winmo 7 phones? even from the most die hard MS partners? Current WinMO isn't ready yet, and they now it. Every phone producer knows it. they just didn't tell the consumers.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Winmo 7 is fully localized for these languages: English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and by fully I mean everything: from app labels to keyboards to spelling checkers and so on and so forth.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    Of course you are comparing MS without Bill Gates. I doubt that Apple will look as healthy once Steve Jobs leaves.

  7. Semaj
    Jobs Horns


    OK, Apple are doing pretty well now. Cool. So now do they have to play by the same rules as everyone else or are they still going to be allowed to get away with forcing people to use iTunes and all the other anticompetitive crap that they do?

    1. Toggi3

      iPod - DRM free, Zune - not so much

      if Microsoft can lock the Zune more than the ipod and still use DRM and it be OK, I dont know what words I can offer you.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Apple don't have a monopoly anywhere

      How many times do we have to point this out, Apple is not a convicted monopolist, they do not have over 90% market share for any of their products.

      You only need iTunes if you have an iPhone or iPad. Even then you aren't required to buy music with it. You can load MP3s onto the iPhone that you have purchased elsewhere.

      Also, is having one App Store is anti-competitive? you'd better tell that to Microsoft, RIM and others as well then.

    3. Lewis Mettler

      antitrust will be a problem for Apple

      Apple is quite willing to harm consumers in order to control them and gain a dominant position.

      Forcing consumers to only use the Apple app store is one example. Opening that up so that Amazon and others can offer apps for iDevices should be required in order to protect consumers and provide some choice.

      Clearly Apple is trying to protect the iTunes monopoly position by forcing media companies to pay that 30% cut or be excluded from the iDevice marketplace. That too is going to require an antitrust review. Actually the whole 30% cut policy is aimed at restricting any possible competition unless Apple is cut in for their share. And a 30% cut for doing nothing but not blocking access to Apple customers is trouble in the beginning. And nothing about that policy benefits consumers. Apple and everyone else is forced to pay higher retail prices just because Apple wants to force the issue (or block access to Apple customers). Customers owned by Apple of course.

      Microsoft is still violating federal antitrust laws by commingling IE and OS code. And every Microsoft lawyers know that are engaged in that illegal activity. Consumers are not so intelligent. Some know that. Some do not. And Microsoft employees still try to lie about it.

      Same with the Apple employees: Lying to consumers about illegal activity is part of the business plan for both Apple and Microsoft. Claiming to be a consumer while lying about such illegal acts is all too transparent.

      Consumers always want choice. They always want the choice of buying the browser of their choice and leaving the crap at the store. And they always want the choice of buying apps at Amazon or elsewhere. And they always want the choice of which apps they buy and use. Any idiot suggesting otherwise is a company employee. Consumers never want the lack of of choice.

      But, you can expect company employees to continue to claim to be a consumer yet plying the company line. They always give themselves away when they do so.

  8. Chris Morrison


    I'm struggling to see why apple fans are so happy by this news. Unless you're a shareholder in apple all this means to you is your now getting rogered by apple more than Microsoft users are getting bummed by Microsoft.

    1. Arctic fox

      @Chris Morrison. re "Errr....."

      It is indeed a quite remarkable phenomenon. If Apple are making that much profit per unit sold that is, by definition, at the expense of their customers - literally. Same customers log on here having been roundly rear-bored by the Cupertino posse (and apparently loved that magical experience) and start howling about how evil the Great Satan From Redmond is and, natch, very often on many threads spelling His Name with a dollar sign! You could not make it up. Apple certainly do not need to *employ* astroturfers - their Phanbois do it pro bono.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Why oh why?

    The author must have had a bad experience in childhood with a Microsoft product as he seems to make his career out of bashing them. But why the comparison? Apple and Microsoft have always been in different businesses. Apple does hardware with bundled software, which in recent years has become largely consumer focussed. Microsoft does software and more recently a games console. On this basis, should he also compare Oracle with Sony or SAP with Siemens?

    It does seem that reason d'etre of The Reg and a large proportion of its readership is the rapid and painful death of Microsoft (many of whom ironically, would not be employed if it weren't for MS in the first place) but attaching the Phone update snark at the end? Was your satchel thrown up on the school bike-shed roof by Bill Gates or something?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft does software?

      > Apple and Microsoft have always been in different businesses .. Microsoft does software and more recently a games console ..

      That's not strictly true, the OEMs have been in Microsofts pocket for a long time, even being refered to as their 'delivery people' in an internal MS email. While the market has moved away from the desktop companies such as Dell are increasingly being marginalized.

      "we do let oems ship their own shells today but they can’t boot up into them directly .. you ship via delivery people. they are your oems", Brad Chase May 1998

  10. Danny 5

    it's about time

    wonder when the bubble will burst. it's bound to happen sometime soon.

  11. miknik
    Jobs Horns

    how about corporate evilness?

    They have to be pretty much neck and neck on that

    1. Lewis Mettler

      Apple is worse

      If you look at the number of policies intended to control the consumer and limit their choices to company products only, Apple is the worst.

      Of course, in some cases, Apple does not hold sufficient market power for its acts to be illegal. But, usually in those cases, such policies also fail to work. In fact, when they do work, it is because Apple has sufficient market power. Just look at the difference in policies for the iDevices versus the Mac. Even the policy of not licensing the MAC OS on other hardward suggests that Apple thinks it can force all consumers to buy Apple hardware if they want the MAC OS. And that is true even though consumers would always prefer to have a choice of hardware.

      As with rape, it is all about controlling the consumer and restricting their choices. Rape is not about sex. It is about control. Control over the victim. Microsoft knows that. Apple knows that. And that is why they adopt the policies you see.

      Keep the consumer under control and prevent them from gaining any benefit from alternative products. Why do you think such acts are illegal?

  12. D. M
    Jobs Horns

    It's time to break Apple down

    So everyone else has to play by the rule, or at least considering playing by the rule, but Apple doesn't need to? Where is DoJ?

  13. sleepy

    We're not stupid ...

    (we Apple customers, that is). We watch each move they make and analyse endlessly.

    Apple may feel like Microsoft to you, but Apple has got where it is by placing itself between big business and the powerless end-user, forcing the incumbents to compromise by making commitments which free-for-all "open" business models cannot offer. Having done their deal, Apple make their "strict" offer to end-users, who can buy or not as they wish.

    The have made life better for consumers (and originators) in, for example, recorded music publishing, mobile services, and software publishing. Others step through the doors that Apple holds open.

    We feel fairly confident that Apple will behave well for several more years, because of the huge opportunities that they haven't yet succeeded with. Such as broadcast TV and payment services.

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