Microsoft and Apple are both great companies for different reasons and operate under very different philosophies. The interesting thing is as Apple grows bigger and bigger, will it begin to behave like other large mature organizations such as Microsoft or IBM? Ever since Apple market cap surpassed Microsoft, it signified an indicator that the investment community was sending a message to the industries..
But Microsoft is still a much bigger company from both topline and bottom as well as other measure. What it means, now Apple is given the currency and blessing to go out and play the next game. Who’s the next big target? I don’t think is Microsoft, I don’t even think Apple sees Microsoft as competition. They are onto the next game.
I have three companies in mind that I think Apple will be out there trying to push out. Apple was set out not to beat Microsoft, but IBM. Are they still on that mission? Apple is still a fraction of IBM’s. Both companies have significant customers lock-in for different reasons and both are tied into the fabric of our economy. Let’s face it, the primary reason for Apple's stellar growth and valuation was due to their track record of repeatedly innovating and creating new products while at the same time maintaining a long-range vision – most companies do one at the expense of the other.
Apple's advantage is that it has a good view of the end game and driven by strategic foresight – not by today’s balance sheet and they can afford to be strategic. The iPad is not important not as a tablet, there are enough tablets out there. It is the first member of a growing family of 21st century computing appliances from Apple that co-creating a new behavior. Much like the first generation iPod. I think there will be a wave of innovation from the industry as people realize this is not just another computing device to fit between a phone and a computer. Many still don’t get it when I talked to people in CES. Tablets are dead, iPad is an appliance.
I am looking forward to the next gen MacBook Pro and I hope we will see something in 3 months. For sure it will be thinner, Light Peak will replace firewire, and the DVD drive will disappear (it should) and equipped with solid state drive. he next update to its MacBook line to make way for Intel's Sandy Bridge processors. There is 90% chance that Sandy Bridge processors will be used on the 13” MacBooks Pro, it is the first to feature a graphics chip grafted atop a processor. I hope they provide a choice of different colors (unlikely) such as silver, white and black. I will take black. I don’t think they will upgrade the 15’ and 17” until later in the year. I don’t think MacAir will survive long when the MacBookPro gets thinner. It is too pricey.
I am interested to see when the revenue stream from the iPad will eventually overtake the Mac's -- much as the iPhone did a few years ago and the iPod did before that. MacBook will eventually become just be a small business unit of Apple.