Michael Moritz writing for FT.com:
The television sound-biters were aghast that Apple’s sales growth was “only” 18 per cent and that management was forecasting slower growth. Everyone seems to have forgotten that it is hard for any company to grow quickly – and even harder when it is already massive. For comparison, during their most recent fiscal years Microsoft grew about 4 per cent and Cisco about 6 per cent – although the first is only about half Apple’s size, and the latter about a third. IBM shrank about 2 per cent to $104bn in sales.
Between September 2000 (when it had sales of about $8bn) and September 2007, Apple grew – largely thanks to the iPod – at an average rate of 17 per cent. In the past five years, propelled by the iPhone and iPad, growth accelerated to almost 45 per cent. If that preposterous rate were to continue, annual sales would top $3tn by 2020, leaving it lodged between the current GDP of France and Germany. Even the devotees who camp outside its stores before a product release would have a tough time believing that Apple will occupy a place between the Maginot and Siegfried lines. If growth were to slow to 5 per cent it would have sales of $231bn in 2020 (compared with $156bn in 2012). At 10 per cent a year, sales would be a flabbergasting $335bn.
Easy to forget that Moritz used to be a writer — until you read him.