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Apple valuation beats Microsoft

The value of Apple has exceeded that of Microsoft in the good times of 1999, Reuters reports. The news provides an interesting counterpoint to my article on Facebook yesterday.

According to the Reuters article, Apple's worth hit $623 billion yesterday, as markets anticipate the imminent launch of its next iPhone - tipped for September 12 by most. In contrast, Microsoft would be worth $621 billion based on adjusted figures from its peak in 1999 (the figure updated to account for inflation).

Interestingly, Facebook hit an all-time low per-share price of just over $18 in Monday trading, before bouncing back to end the day at $20 per share.

Why is Apple doing so much better than the social network? Simply because it makes stuff of value, whereas the social network is all about advertising - a relatively abstract concept when compared to physical goods and services. Sure, Apple has an advertising model, sells apps and encourages in-app purchasing. But it's value is still directly linked to hardware, as evidenced by the rise as the world waits for its latest smartphone.

In this world of software, apps and services, it's actually reassuring to know that hardware still counts for something. For device makers, it shows that they haven't been relegated to just being conduits for operating systems and ecosystems - put something truly revolutionary or clever into the public's hands, and you'll be rewarded.