On Friday, ExxonMobil passed Apple to become the most valuable company in the world. We were all very happy to see that happen, because who really cares about Apple stuff when we’ve got Exxon’s newest offerings to lust after. (True gas geeks know no greater thrill than when Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson busts out his signature “one more thing.”)
This is all lies and “jokes”; it is, as we noted last week, disconcerting that oil companies continue to make money hand over fist. (In a few days, ExxonMobil will announce its 2012 earnings, so we’ll revisit this theme then.) But we have an ally in our frustration, it seems — Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Speaking to employees on the current controversies around Apple’s income and future, Cook reportedly told his workers and colleagues that “we [Apple] just had the best quarter of any technology company ever.” Cook expressed this with immense satisfaction and appreciation for his teams that made this happen.
Cook further added, likely referring to gas and fuel juggernaut Exxon, that “the only companies that report better quarters pump oil.” “I do not know about you all, but I do not want to work for those companies,” Cook reportedly said.
There’s a bit of snobbery at play in that quote, I’ll readily admit. But it’s an interesting reflection of both competition and modernity. Apple is a company predicated on the future, on innovative tools for communication. ExxonMobil is a company built on developing ever more streamlined systems for repeating a 100-year-old business model. It’s a weird race, like two horses on different tracks that happen to be going the same speed. The battle is California versus Texas, white collar versus blue, future versus past, green(ish) versus brown, technology versus natural resources.
In some ways, it’s a distillation of two halves of the country. And, according to section VI, subpart 8 of the Rules of Capitalism, the winner isn’t determined through elections or reasoned debate. The winner is determined by stock price.
Update: If that’s the case, good news for Apple, which has currently regained the lead. Go horses!