Back in the bull market of the late nineties, no stock market analyst ever needed to declare that he would discuss the computer industry: the computer industry was the stock market, and the stock market was the computer industry. That made things fairly simple, because in the nineties, a computer was simply a beige rectangular object beneath your desk, or, in some cases, a book sized object in your briefcase. Also, there wasn’t the need to speculate as to which company was up and which down, no need for constant re-adjustment of position. There was one king, Microsoft (MSFT), perched high on its iron throne, and one thousand unworthy claimants to the throne.
Now, of course, we have computers in our phones and watches. Our homes are computers, and each appliance, (the toaster-oven, for example) contains within it more computing power than did the entire world in the year in which we were born. These are all really just integrated circuits, aka computer chips, of course, but that’s why we won’t be discussing chips today: actual computers make up a small and shrinking portion of the computer chip market.
We’ll be looking today at the companies that really affect the industry, and what better place to start than with the king?