When an 800-pound gorilla loses weight

Most of us have heard the one about the 800-pound gorilla:

Q: “Where does an 800 lb. gorilla sit?”
A: “Anywhere it wants to.”

This translates well to Microsoft; consider their market capitalization as their ‘weight’; at its peak about a decade ago, Microsoft briefly spiked to over $600 Billion. At the time, IBM sat in the 100-150 range and Apple was stuck ~25.

But I’ve been thinking about the long-term trends and they’re not good for Microsoft; they’re currently sitting in the 200+ range, but IBM, Apple and Google are each ~150 right now. Consider this graph (that I made based on the instructions here) which lists the market cap for the first of each month (for less data points ;) starting in 1999, through to Aug. 2009:

Market Capitalization for MSFT, IBM, AAPL, GOOG Jan. 1999 - Aug. 2009

At this rate, Microsoft could be worth less than any of those three in the not too distant future…


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