Relentless innovation, ruthless efficiency and great products have helped Steve Jobs's company pull ahead of its old rival.

This article titled “How Apple eclipsed Microsoft” was written by Charles Arthur, for The Guardian on Wednesday 19th October 2011 00.32 UTC

Apple is now bigger than Microsoft, its old rival. Not just in market capitalisation but also in quarterly revenue and profits. Its enormous, ruthlessly efficient and capitalises on its strengths – its brand and marketing, and uses them to promote top class hardware and software packaged as brilliantly designed and easy to use products.

And now it is looking to China: “I’ve never seen a country with so many people rising into the middle class who aspire to own products that we make,” Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said. He has his eyes on the fresh possibilities of the hundreds of millions of people there in a way that no other western company has: he doesn’t just want to sell them phones, he wants to sell them iPads and Macs too. If China clicks– and the fact that some Chinese cities had fake Apple stores which were so good they were indistinguishable from the real thing – then Apple has space for years of growth.

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