In only one month Microsoft lost a $25 billion lead over Apple in market capitalization, dropped behind by $3 billion, gave Apple the alpha dog status of tech, and all the leverage and power that comes with the sought after top spot.
This is not news to consumers who continue to eagerly mob Apple’s hot new iPhone and iPad models; Microsoft’s consumer products business continues to struggle for every breath. Their decline was underlined by the past weeks of market instability, bringing down the former heavyweight champ’s shares 15%, while Apple’s stock is down just over 6%. “What this really means is that Wall Street has more confidence in Apple’s growth prospects than it does in Microsoft’s growth prospects,” said Matt Rosoff, lead analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent firm.
On Wednesday, we covered the shakeup in management structure that saw some of Microsoft’s most senior consumer products managers executed. Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) fell 4% to close at $25.01 on Wednesday, while Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) lost 0.45%, closing at $244.11.
“Apple is showing high growth, with the launch of its iPad and its new iPhone coming out, and while Windows is a great competitor versus the Mac, Microsoft just hasn’t come up with new areas of growth.” added Rosoff.
Microsoft’s consumer product division in fact looked into creating a tablet computer that would have competed directly with the iPad, which Apple introduced at the beginning of April, selling more than 1 million in the first 28 days of release. But it was Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who ended up pulling the plug on the Microsoft Courier project before the tablet ever made it to market.
“This just means those efforts didn’t work out,” said Roger Kay, president of analyst firm Endpoint Technologies. “It’s sort of like Japanese samurai ethic, which says you need to fall on your sword to maintain your honor.”
Balmer appears to have survived his consumer products purge, and is heroically staying on in the top spot, though the company is not. At Microsoft, even the samurai honor rolls downhill.