The most valuable company ever? It’s Microsoft, not Apple.

Bill Gates holding an Apple Logo
Crushing your head..

The slew of now redacted articles claiming that Apple managed to take the title of ‘most valuable company in history’ is further proof that the internet is packed with people who will post anything without considering the facts.

Sure if you compare 1999 dollars to 2012 dollars with no adjustment in value for inflation (?!) Apple looks pretty impressive today, but if you want to say ‘Most valuable company of all time’, you have to factor ‘time’ into the equation.

After accounting for inflation the race between Apple and Microsoft isn’t even close, with Microsoft in the lead by over $230 billion even by conservative estimates.

At one point this morning I saw an article offering the corrected values and stating that, ‘Bill Gates would be upset that IBM was handicapped by inflation‘! This was quickly corrected after comments pointed out a few errors, ‘Bill Gates ran Microsoft, not IBM, and Bill Gates is still alive, stop talking about him like he’s Steve Jobs.‘.

I wanted to pounce on the author, calling them out for reporting on tech history they clearly never paid any attention to, but the sad truth is that it was a senior author who probably wrote the post before getting his morning coffee.

Most Valuable How?

“Money aside, what tech company is the most valuable?”

This was a good question that came up in the reaction threads to the news that Apple is doing so well financially.

If Apple went bankrupt the entire user base would have tons of options for Android tablets/phones/MP3 players/personal PCs. Linux would flourish a bit, and China would have a lot of people looking for employment. Not really a big deal.

If Microsoft went bankrupt there would be over a billion desktop PCs needing new OSes, millions of email/web servers that would need to be migrated to Linux, Hotmail/Bing/MSN/Maps users would have to upgrade to GMail/Google search/GTalk/Maps, and millions of cell phone users would either need to buy new phones or at the very least switch off Microsoft Exchange services and move over to GMail.

Sure as a web developer, we’d produce a lot more web-content without IE compatibility issues, and that’s just a quick ‘glance’ at the issue, so I could be overlooking massive problems on either side, but from a glance, the ‘value’ is clearly not in Apple’s favor, in both money and services.

Speaking of big money tech business..

Facebook is still making headlines for losses, this time one of the earliest investors, ex-PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, has jumped ship selling over 20 million shares.

Slipery Slope Sign

When one of your primary investors pulls out and cashes in, it’s a pretty clear signal that you’ve peaked and the road ahead is looking very questionable.

Peter Thiel’s projected total for this cash out comes close to $400 million, which is a bit less than the stock options he sold when the company went public in May.

At this point investors are speculating that Peter has sold nearly all his Facebook stock, and he is apparently investing heavily in 3d Meat Printers.

Actually printing a full ‘steak’ is years away, but when they get there I want a steak where the fat is perfectly balanced with the meat ‘Kobe style’, and each little fat cluster is the shape of a tiny unicorn.

Nom nom..

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