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Is Apple heading for $1-trn mark?

business Updated: Sep 24, 2012 21:43 IST

If Apple continues on its current trajectory, something remarkable might happen on April 9, 2015, at around 11 am.

Apple could become the first company ever to be valued at $1 trillion, said analysts and statisticians.

Some others are making even more aggressive estimates for the company’s value, which, as of Friday, was $656 billion. Those people put the trillion-dollar mark at less than a year from now: August 16, 2013.

“It’s hard to imagine Apple growing any faster than it has grown on both the release of the iPad and iPhone,” said Michael E. Driscoll, chief executive of Metamarkets, a big data and predictive analytics company, and one of the people betting Apple will top $1 trillion in 2015.

Estimating when, or if, Apple will become the first to be worth $1 trillion is a bit of a parlor game, but one thing is sure: it is a juggernaut.

Not long ago, Apple was a boutique PC maker. Since then, it has rolled over almost every company in its path, first with music players, then with cellphones and, more recently, with laptops. Nokia, Sony, Research in Motion, Dell and Hewlett-Packard have all watched open-mouthed as Apple took markets they thought were secured. Each time, Apple’s stock rose and their stock fell.

“They are a different kind of company,” said Walter Piecyk, a wireless research analyst at BTIG Research. But, he warned: “So was Nokia in the late ’90s. No one thought they’d ever be challenged, and look at where they are today.”

Even with this growth, there is another possibility: that Apple never reaches $1 trillion. “In a worst-case scenario, Apple could befall the fate of Microsoft, which had a similarly dizzying peak in late 1999,” said Driscoll. “In this scenario, it will never happen.”

If $1 trillion were the peak of Mount Everest, Microsoft would have been rising through the highest base camp in December 1999, when its market capitalisation hit an all-time high of $616 billion. Since then, the company has slid down the side of the mountain and is currently valued at a mere $261 billion.

“When Microsoft peaked in 2000, it had 20 years running the PC revolution. We’re essentially only five years into the smartphone revolution,” said Charles S Wallman, a securities analyst. “Apple has 435 million customers based on the number of credit cards in iTunes. That’s 6% of the world’s population. It’s not a stretch to say it can get to 10 or 12% of the world’s population.”