Sure, Apple nearly died a decade after the company and Jobs originally parted ways in 1985. But remember, Apple wasn't a "dominant" company in 1985. It was one of many PC companies, living on a closed architecture and depending on artificially high hardware margins. It took a decade of poor management to nearly drive Apple into the ground.
This time around, Apple is more closed -- and more open -- than ever. Proprietary, innovative hardware and software -- coupled with open Internet standards -- have allowed Apple to corner the market on digital media and digital commerce.
Reasons to BelieveStill skeptical? Consider these four facts, all from Wikipedia, plus an in-depth Fortune Magazine story that more or less predicted Apple was grooming an immediate successor to Jobs:
- iPods: As of September 2008[update], more than 173 million iPods had been sold worldwide, making it the best-selling digital audio player series in history.
- iTunes: As of January 2009, the iTunes Store has sold 6 billion songs, accounting for more than 70% of worldwide online digital music sales and making the service the largest legal music retailer.
- iPhone: On October 21, 2008 Apple announced sales of 6.89 million iPhone 3Gs in the fourth quarter of 2008, totaling 13 million iPhones to date.
- MacBook: According to the sales-research organization NPD Group in October 2008, the midrange model of the MacBook has been the single best-selling laptop of any brand in U.S. retail stores for the past five months.
- Management Team: Rewind to Nov. 10, 2008. Fortune ran a cover story explaining why Tim Cook may need to run Apple someday soon. Plenty of folks have openly questioned whether Apple and Jobs have misled investors about Jobs' health. But media coverage has gradually painted a clearer picture of Apple's day-to-day leadership team. The verdict: It's solid.
But in term of Apple's day to day business, the numbers above suggest Apple has dominant market positions that will remain intact for years to come.
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