Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Apple's market value passes $600bn

28WT055Apple_4S1_2023099c Shares in Apple climbed in early trading, which was enough to send the company's market value past the $600bn mark. The only other company to achieve the feat was Microsoft in 1999 during the height of the dotcom bubble.

Despite a fitful economic recovery in the US and a recession in Europe, the Silicon Valley company has managed to increase sales in what one analyst has dubbed the spread of 'Apple fever' around the world.

Wall Street is expecting Apple to deliver a more than 50pc increase in profits to $9.2bn when it releases its results for the first three months of the year later this month.

The prospect of Apple launching a television product, and its announcement last month that it will begin paying a dividend, has prompted some on Wall Street to argue that the shares will be trading at $1,000 within a year.

The challenge that Microsoft faces in clawing back ground in the tablet market was underlined today by a new forecast from Gartner, a technology research firm.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, is betting that the introduction of Windows 8 later this year will help wrest share from Apple because the operating system will be available on more tablet computers than the current version.

Gartner, however, only expects Microsoft's share of the market to climb to 11.8pc by 2016 and to be held back by its lack of appeal to the consumer.

"Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad," said Caroline Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner.

While Apple's products wow consumers, chief executive Tim Cook has pledged to improve working conditions at supplier factories in China that were heavily criticised in an independent report late last month. It remains unclear what impact the changes will have on Apple's profitability.

Shares in Apple closed down 1.2pc lower at $628.44, after climbing as high as $644 earlier in the day.

The Telegraph

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