Apple VS Alphabet (Google): Battle of Tech Giants
The last two years were substantial for top tech competitors Apple and Google parent Alphabet. As the chart above shows, Google’s market value was on a healthy incline throughout 2015 while Apple saw a steady decline. In Q1 of 2016, financial reports indicated that, for the first time, Alphabet finally topped Apple as the world’s most valuable company in terms of market cap value. Apple’s market value would soon pick up the slack but continued to fluctuate for much of the year while Alphabet saw mostly a steady incline. An article on thestreet.com described Apple and Google as “neck and neck for the cap crown” in May of 2016, citing that the two giants swapped positions for the top spot more than once over the course of a couple days.
Through the closing months of 2016 and moving into Q1 of 2017, Apple has managed to reclaim the top spot, but the two tech giants remain in close contention as stock shares shift from day to day.
What factors contributed to Apple’s downward trend since 2015, and more importantly, how can Apple prevent a relapse into this trend? An ABC News report quotes marketing expert Daniel Ives suggesting that the disappointing launch of the iPhone 6 played a key role. Ives also considered Google’s steady growth and financial transparency to be a key reason why the company now competes with Apple as the top company (abcnews.go.com).
The report suggested that the anticipated iPhone 7 launch would determine whether Apple could regain the top spot. Another article on Forbes.com highlighted Apple’s new 3D touch capability (introduced on the iPhone 6S) as the possible “game changer.”
The 3D touch function responds to the amount of pressure users apply when touching the screen. The article states,
“. . . the real 3D Touch benefits will only come when app makers (in particular games makers) hop aboard. Create some truly compelling examples in very popular titles and new iPhones will fly off the shelves even faster than anticipated.” (Forbes.com)
Apple has built its reputation on innovation in terms of hardware, but with mixed reviews for the iPhone 7 and its wireless headphone design, it appears that some software innovations utilizing 3D touch and other features will be needed if Apple hopes to reestablish tech dominance in 2017. Apple’s quarterly earnings report released January 31st of 2017 showed promising revenue numbers that surpassed market expectations (CNBC.com). According to Apple, this was largely due to huge boosts in sales numbers of the iPhone 7 in India and other overseas markets.
Still, whether Apple can sustain this growth moving forward is the burning question. The general consensus around the iPhone 7 launch seems to be that, while not earth-shattering, the new phone has great capabilities and potential that developers can build on for the next installment. But with the release of the comparable Google Pixel, Apple CEO Tim Cook will need a home run to solidify bragging rights over the company’s new top rival. Hopeful apple fanatics are already anxious to see what Tim and company will cook up for the next generation of iPhones.