Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A New Peak That Apple Could Climb

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A New Peak That Apple Could Climb

Article excerpt

Statisticians and investors estimate that if the technology company continues on its path of innovation and marketing success, it could reach the trillion-dollar mark in one to three years.

If Apple continues on its current trajectory, something remarkable might happen on April 9, 2015, at about 11 a.m.

That is, statisticians and investors I have spoken to say, a conservative estimate of when Apple could become the first company ever to be valued at $1 trillion. (Yes, you read that correctly: the number one, followed by 12 zeros.)

Other analysts are making even more aggressive estimates for the company's value, which, as of Friday, was $656 billion. Those people put the trillion-dollar mark at less than a year from now: Aug. 16, 2013.

"It's hard to imagine Apple growing any faster than it has grown on both the release of the iPad and iPhone," said Michael E. Driscoll, chief executive of Metamarkets, a big data and predictive analytics company, and one of the statisticians betting Apple will top $1 trillion in 2015.

Estimating when, or if, Apple will become the first to be worth $1 trillion is a bit of a parlor game, but we can all most likely agree on one fact: Today, it is a juggernaut.

Not long ago, Apple was a boutique PC maker. Since then, it has rolled over almost every company in its path, with music players, then with cellphones and more recently, with laptops. Nokia, Sony, Research In Motion, Dell and Hewlett-Packard have all watched open- mouthed as Apple has taken markets that they thought were secured. Each time, Apple's stock rose and their stock fell.

"They are certainly a different kind of company," said Walter Piecyk, a wireless research analyst at BTIG Research. But, he warned: "So was Nokia in the late '90s. No one thought they'd ever be challenged, and look at where they are today."

Even with this growth, there is another possibility: that Apple never reaches $1 trillion.

"In a worst-case scenario, Apple could befall the fate of Microsoft, which had a similarly dizzying peak in late 1999," Mr. Driscoll said.

If $1 trillion were the peak of Mount Everest, Microsoft would have been rising through the highest base camp in December 1999, when its market capitalization hit an all-time high of $616.3 billion. Since then, the company has slid down the side of the mountain; it is now valued at a mere $261 billion.Indeed, the fuss about the poor-quality maps on the iPhone 5 has led some people to wonder whether Apple has already started to slide.

But remember how well it has weathered other challenges, like poorly functioning antennas and the erratic behavior of Siri, its language software.

Apple is different from Microsoft. "When Microsoft peaked in 2000, it had 20 years running the PC revolution. We're essentially only five years into the smartphone revolution," said Charles S. …

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