updated 11:40 am EDT, Thu March 24, 2011
Mobile apps picked as key factor
Apple should be in a position to keep recording growth of 50 percent or more during the next two years, claims Forrester Research CEO George Colony. At the heart of the argument is mobile apps. Colony notes that nearly 15 million iPads were sold in the device's first year, and in a space of four years, over 90 million iPhones have been sold. Hardware demand fuels interest in apps, which in turn keeps people buying Apple hardware, says Colony.
"They'll be bigger than IBM next year, and they'll be bigger than HP the year after that," the CEO explains, suggesting that Apple will eventually take $200 billion a year in revenue. As evidence he points out that Apple sales grew 52 percent last year alone. IBM pulled in $99.9 billion last year, while HP amassed $126 billion in a fiscal year ending with October.
A significant obstacle for Apple is said to be its post-Jobs future. Although Colony argues that the company has a product pipeline long enough last three or four years after Steve Jobs leaves, the Apple leader is thought be extremely important to its his brainchild's success. "Remember, every two years they have to fill that [Apple retail] store with new stuff," says Colony. "Without Steve Jobs as the CEO, I think it will be much harder for them to do that. That would be a massive, massive hit to the valuation."
At the same time, companies like Google and Facebook are accused of being too slow to adopt an app-based model. Facebook is charged with "risking massive disaster" by being slow to update its iPhone app and not yet having an iPad app. Google is allegedly too dependent on web advertising, which goes unseen in most apps. The impact of the company's in-app advertising in unmentioned.