Published on September 17th, 2012 | by Alex Veeneman0
Apple becomes largest valued tech company
Alex Veeneman, Opinions Editor
The technology company Apple became the largest valued company in the United States Aug. 20, surpassing Microsoft in its stock value.
Apple’s stock value of $623.5 billion surpassed the record set by Microsoft in 1999, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The news of the value comes after the death of Steve Jobs last October and investor views of recent corporate sales results despite high demand of the iPhone and iPad products, according to the Journal. The results also come as Apple released its new iPhone 5 model and new iPod touch and nano models Sept. 12. Reports emerged of a possible iPad mini, likely to have a smaller screen, but a release was unconfirmed.
An Apple spokesperson did not respond to a telephone request seeking comment.
Ray Klump, the chair of Lewis’ Math and Computer Science departments, says Apple excels “creating products and packaging that look extremely attractive and that suggest quality, identifying functions and features that the majority of its users want.
Klump added that Apple’s recent $1.1 billion legal victory against the company Samsung with regard to patents is frightening.
“In what really was a home-court decision for Apple, Apple was able to penalize Samsung for features that are really simply hardwired into our expectations as human beings, like how to zoom in on a document using your fingers, or what should happen when you reach the boundary of a picture,” Klump said. “Children as young as 2 or 3 can figure out a smartphone or tablet because our brains are wired to expect certain kinds of interactions and behaviors, not because a technology firm envisions interactions in a particular way. And yet, Apple was able to acquire patents on these natural human means of interaction, some of which they actually copied from Sony’s products.”
Klump added that Apple is continuing to prohibit Samsung from selling specific phones in the US market, despite the phones being more powerful than Apple’s products themselves.
There are questions as to whether Apple can continue the trend and its influence. St. Denis Villere III, an analyst with the Villere and Company investment fund, told the Journal that Apple is still a company to watch.
“As with any technology investment, and you can go back through history, it’s very hard for any company to continue to stay on top,” Villere said. “Technology is one sector you have to watch very carefully. But they have more than enough going for them at Apple that you don’t want to get off the train just yet.”
Klump adds the fourth point on litigation is key to its future, and reflects on the industry now.
“It used to be that software was copyrighted, not patented. It was the way the code was written, rather than the effect of the code, that people used to protect,” Klump said. “After all, the reasoning went, how do you legitimately claim such intuitive gestures as finger swipes and scrolling and zooming as your own creation?”
Klump added that Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung claim key features their creations, which leaves competitors to pay for usage on their specific devices.
“They then worsen the situation by buying up other companies to gain access to their patent portfolios, which they then can use like munitions to hamstring other companies from including these features in their products,” Klump said. “The lawyers and the business types are really holding the innovators back.”