Apple stock has soared through a $500 per share mark and then split 4-1. The market confidence comes from assessing the outlook for Apple’s business model. The computers and devices Apple sells use proprietary chips, either today, for phones and tablets, or next year for the rest of the vendor’s line.
The operating systems for these devices are also Apple’s specialized OS’s. Software created for iOS or for MacOS will not operate on other devices. Soon, the Apple-branded chips will demand rewrites of applications.
Does this sound familiar? It should for customers who recall the state of HP’s Year 2000 business plans. it was proprietary operating systems all around for MPE, VMS, HP’s Unix, and NonStop. HP-only chips power all of those servers. Software rewrites were needed as newer HP-proprietary chips entered to replace PA-RISC.
In a tale of two companies, HP’s valuation at $70 a share in 2000 could be compared to Apple’s $3.68 per share. Then there was a 4:1 split for Apple, two more, and now there’s a 4:1 split. Making its own hardware and OS has been a good business play for Apple. HP turned away from this model to embrace commodity computing. Today you can get only NonStop and HP-UX operating systems from HP.
Legacy sales then and now
OpenVMS is now deep inside VMS Software Inc. MPE/iX licensing ended in 2010. Hewlett-Packard has another kind of split over those two decades, indeed; the company is now tw0 parts, Enterprise and Inc. The size of its wide-ranging mission was too inefficient to maintain as a single entity. Commodity couldn’t carry HP into a higher orbit.
Legacy strategy often runs on vendor-specific technology. Many factors apply to this year’s soaring valuations. Apple became the first company ever valued at $2 trillion this month.
There’s still value in legacy enterprise, too. HP Enterprise sells the HP-UX and NonStop environments. Tru64, the Unix built by Compaq before HP bought the firm, is sold through indie outlets like Island Computing.
The last two decades seem to have proven there’s no harm in engineering proprietary hardware and software environments. The crucial element is innovation and market reach. The invention within OpenVMS and MPE/iX keeps working for any corporations which invested in legacy designs. Apple is releasing its 16th version of MacOS this year. Version number 14 of its mobile iOS rolled out this summer.
HP was able to create about 14 major releases of MPE/iX over the 20 years it sold the OS. It just hasn’t been able to sustain growth using its own designs. That’s a mission that its legacy customers have accomplished.