Robert Cringely writes an interesting article about the relative paths of Microsoft and Apple.

Yesterday, Apple’s stock market value exceeded Microsoft’s for the first time ever. Over the next few months they will probably trade places but the trend is pushing Apple up while Microsoft is staying flat. Cringely has some viewpoints on that, as do I.

Apple is doing well because it’s moving into markets that don’t have a dominating company and it’s taking them over. Microsoft did that with Windows and Office. Cringely points out that they haven’t done it in any other markets in a long time. And they don’t look like they’re on path to either. Apple, on the other hand, is obviously searching for more ripe markets.

Interestingly, the one market Apple is showing little interest in is the traditional business market. They’re making very obvious overtures at the edges of the Enterprise market but they’re looking to redefine the needs and requirements of that market. They have no interest in adapting to the market as it exists. So you see Exchange support and VPN support and remote management support and remote deployment support but no Microsoft Office killer. No SQL Server killer. No SharePoint killer. They show no interest at all.

Cringely makes the point that Microsoft is doing quite well overall. They’re making $1 billion a month. If you look at their 3rd quarter results, Windows 7 sales are booming - over $1 billion in additional sales over the last quarter. But revenue from server tools, entertainment and online services are effectively flat while the business division is diminishing slightly. And Bing is losing more money then ever ($713 million this quarter). So in the only market Microsoft is really trying to open up - search - they’re getting creamed.

The big question is where do things go from here? I don’t think Windows Phone 7 is going to do anything at all. And I don’t think SharePoint is going to be the answer either. So what will be? Mobile Office? Or something none of us have thought of yet?