Apple has become the second most profitable technology firm in the world after Microsoft, on the basis of its second quarter numbers. It also remains the most valuable technology firm in terms of market capitalization (ahead of Microsoft by a little over $60 billion).
The numbers confirm a hypothesis put forward by several tech analysts and executives—that this is the era of consumer technology.
For much of the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s, companies chased IT-led productivity gains and were the largest customers for tech firms. By the mid-2000s, though, most companies had pretty much gained all they could on this front. And, conveniently for Apple, a recession that followed coincided with the company’s most productive period in terms of launching innovative products, including the iPad. Time was when consumer tech was sexy, not profitable. It’s now both.