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The first $1trillion company?

With Apple reporting better than expected results it seems set to become the world’s first company to be valued at $1trillion.

The iPhone giant reported a $11.5billion profit for the three months ending in June, up 32% on a year ago, while sales increased 17% to $53.3billion, another record for the company’s third quarter.

Apple sold around 41.3m iPhones during the quarter. Consumers don't seem to be concerned by the higher prices for its iPhone X model.

Sales of “other products”, including the Apple Watch, recorded a sales increase for the quarter of 37% year-on-year, while the company also reported strong growth in its services division, where it's targeting $50bn in annual services revenues by 2020 – that's from the likes of online TV, news and publishing, gaming and cloud-hosting services.

So all is looking good? Up to a point, according to analysts. A more relevant picture of Apple’s health will come in September with the launch of three new iPhone models.

And the increasing share price of the company is, in part, being driven by its own massive cash reserves and profits that have been repatriated under Trump tax break schemes, and which it is using to buy back its own stock.

And while Apple remains a cash cow, generating $88billion in gross profits over the past year, critics say that under the leadership of Tim Cook, the company has becoming less innovative and a bit of a one-trick pony, churning out iPhones but failing to innovate the way it did under Steve Jobs.

Apple is not the only company on the cusp of becoming a $1trillion business, with Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft all there, or thereabouts.

Interestingly, a growing number of investors are pointing to Amazon as the better investment in the longer term, boosted by the fact that it is more diversified company. Not only has it revolutionised the way people shop, its launched a dynamic video streaming service that rivals Netflix and created a profitable cloud computing wing.

While both Amazon and Apple are great companies Amazon, under Jeff Bezos, looks a better bet in the longer term to deliver innovative products that excite consumers - being the first $1trillion company might not be the most important milestone after all.

(Update: following the release of those results, Apple shares are now just $5 off hitting that magic $1trillion valuation)

Author
Neil Tyler

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