Jul 222011

Is it too late to buy Apple stock  (symbol AAPL)? I don’t know.

I do know that an Apple store I visited recently was swamped. People weren’t quite lined up on the sidewalk, but it was a close call. The store was crawling with potential customers. Every age group from pre-teens to seventy-somethings was represented. People were fondling, touching, even petting Apple products.

Want to buy the latest shiny magical Apple gadget? Get in line. Wait your turn. We’ll be with you in a moment.

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that  the value of Apple outstanding stock has reached roughly $360 billion, exceeding the combined market value of Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC), the so-called “Wintel” duo that dominated the personal-computer business almost from the beginning.

The numbers in the Journal piece are mind-blowing. In March 2000, near the height of the dot-com madness, the combined market value of the Wintel duo exceeded $1 trillion. At the time, Apple was worth a mere $23 billion. As the Journal noted, Steve Jobs had earned his keep. Apple was worth only $3 billion in September 2007, when he took the helm for the second time.

Apple is now more valuable, so the Journal reports, than every company in the Standard and Poor’s 500 with one exception, Exxon-Mobil, worth $418 billion.

Can Apple top that? I don’t know.

What I do know is that the MacBook Air acquired recently is quite simply the best portable personal computer I’ve ever used. With its solid-state drive (no moving parts), it is hardly thicker than a file folder. It is a joy to use.

I also know is there are no lines of people of all ages urgently waving their credit cards at harried sales people for the privilege of owning the latest and greatest at Microsoft stores. Or at Intel stores. Or even at Exxon Mobil stores.

And I know that as I left that frenzied Apple store on a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, my gut was screaming, “Buy Apple.”

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