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-vc-exits-2011-6

The environment for early stage startup investing is very “challenging” right now because big exits are still rare, but Series A round valuations have grown larger and larger, according to Fred Wilson, one of the best known early stage investors in the world.

On his blog, Wilson highlights the chart below which comes from Mark Suster. It shows the number of exits over $100 million on an annual basis is relatively small. There are 1,000 early stage fundings annually, according to the NVCA, which means just 5%-10% are producing big exits.

“At at time when the average Series A round is now north of $20mm (based on very anecdotal evidence and not at all scientific), this poses challenges for the VC industry,” says Wilson.

Wilson simplifies the math to prove his point, but says assume a fund can get one company to exit at a $250 million valuation. If it invested in 20 companies at an average valuation of $20 million, then it has committed $400 million.

The one big exit isn’t going to provide enough of a return to cover the portfolio, which is how the VC business has traditionally worked.

So, either the VC model needs to evolve, or valuations need to come down.

Annual exits for VC-backed startups worth more than $100 million

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