NYT takes Apple’s market cap down a peg or two

At their height, IBM and AT&T were more far more dominant than Apple is today.

From Apple Is the Most Valuable Public Company Ever. But How Much of a Record Is That? in Saturday’s New York Times:

Apple’s rising stock price briefly pushed its market value over $900 billion last month. That made Apple the most valuable publicly-traded company of all time, raising the question: Will it become the first company to be worth $1 trillion?

We asked experts at the University of Chicago to help make sense of Apple’s enormous size, given the long history of the stock market. Apple’s numbers are still spectacular — but they don’t look as awesome when you take a long-term view.

My take: Interesting academic exercise. Bottom line: It was easier for AT&T to be a big fish in a small pond in 1932 when there were only 704 publicly traded companies, not 6,715 as there are today.

Here’s what the TImes’ most valuable list looked like before the Chicago experts got their hands on it:

Apple market cap

Click to enlarge. Click here for the full list. 

11 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    I LOVE it.

    Deflates the LOLN trope.

    2
    December 23, 2017
      • Fred Stein said:
        LOLN, Law of Large Numbers.

        LOLN is really a valid statistics ‘law’ and the term is frequently mis-applied to finance. In statistics, it means that larger sample sizes provide more accurate predictions. In finance it is use to assert that large companies have limited growth. This phrase was applied by naysayers to Apple about 2 years ago, when it’s price was in a trough. The naysayers were wrong.

        1
        December 23, 2017
        • Jonathan Mackenzie said:
          I am worried about the LOLN about as much as the ROUS (Rodents of unusual size).

          1
          December 23, 2017
        • Gregg Thurman said:
          Yes but accuracy doesn’t increase that much after the sample size reaches 500.

          0
          December 24, 2017
      • Ken Cheng said:
        I called it that way back when in PED2.0. Law Of Large Numbers, also nicely fits Laugh Out Loud Numbers, because whenever anyone cited this so-called law, it just made me laugh out loud at the silliness of it.

        0
        December 23, 2017
  2. George Ewonus said:
    law of large numbers?

    1
    December 23, 2017
  3. John Butt said:
    It is interesting to see the data is shown as % of market rather than $ in todays terms. I cannot be bothered calculating it but I would not be surprised if the answer was completely different, otherwise they would have used price, the same as the original chart.

    0
    December 23, 2017
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    Isn’t it interesting that 2 of the 10 hit their peak when everybody was upgrading their Wintels, because Windows couldn’t handle Y2K?

    0
    December 24, 2017

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