Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-steve-jobs-saw-apple-triumph-over-microsoft-2011-10

One of the defining threads that ran through Steve Jobs’ life was his battle with Microsoft and Bill Gates.

Though Steve Jobs was always seen as the cool innovator, for a long time Gates and Microsoft were the winners in business.

Microsoft’s success ate at Jobs. It became the world’s most valuable company, and Gates the world’s richest man, because “Windows just copied the Mac,” as Jobs put it in his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford.

Upon returning to Apple in 1997 he told the faithful, “We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.” Once Jobs and Apple did that, and began focusing on iPods, iPhones, and iPads, the company’s earnings and valuation soared.

After years of fighting as an underdog, Apple’s market cap blew by Microsoft‘s last year, making it the world’s most valuable tech company.

Jobs and Apple had finally and definitively triumphed over Microsoft. It’s fitting Jobs was able to enjoy that in the last year of his life.

Did he need market approval? Probably not. But you know he loved getting it.

In reaction to Jobs’ death, Gates was as gracious as could be. He wrote, “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

chart of the day, apple vs microsoft market capitalization, october 2011

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Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-rim-htc-2011-6

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone on Jan. 9, 2007, the mobile industry changed forever. All of a sudden, software and user interfaces mattered on mobile devices. It was a turning point for many companies.

Some, like Palm and Motorola, started to crash almost immediately. Others, like Nokia, took longer.

Research In Motion, which makes BlackBerry devices, actually did very well for a long time, capturing a lot of the market with email- and messaging-focused phones, strong carrier promotion, and a solid corporate base.

But RIM has suffered recently as it has been unable to compete with Apple and Google Android in the lucrative high end of the smartphone market. Its growth has been coming from selling cheaper phones overseas, and U.S. carriers aren’t promoting RIM devices like they used to.

Meanwhile, Taiwan-based HTC has been one of the more exciting stories in the industry. It made an early bet on Google Android and has been riding it to success. Earlier this year, HTC passed RIM in market cap. (Data courtesy Capital IQ.)

Continued success isn’t guaranteed for HTC, of course. Samsung has been rising fast in the Android market, and HTC still hasn’t shown it’s going to be a threat in the tablet business.

But it seems to be in much better shape than RIM, which is struggling to stay relevant in the early stages of a big, risky platform change — as it moves away from the old BlackBerry software to a new OS called QNX.

RIM HTC market cap since January 2007

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Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-aol-google-yahoo-facebook-market-cap-per-unique-visitor-2011-5

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong likes to remind people that AOL sites are the fifth most trafficked in the United States. Only Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Microsoft sites beat AOL’s 118 million unique visitors in March. Google, in first, had 176 million.

Armstrong also likes to point out how AOL, with a $2 billion market cap, is entirely dwarfed by the other four companies in that group. Yahoo is worth $25 billion, Facebook, $60 billion, and Google $176 billion.

Armstrong says this demonstrates AOL’s huge opportunity. Maybe. Or maybe it demonstrates a hugely blown opportunity. Or both.

But one thing is clear: With the traffic AOL has, if Armstrong can get the monetization engine running, there’s enormous upside.

We left Microsoft off the chart below, because it’s not an online-only business.

chart of the day, aol, google, facebook, yahoo, market cap per unique visitor, my

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