Apple — number 2 in US corporate value only to Exxon Mobil — steamrolls into 2011 as a virtual money-printing machine. Last year's smash-success releases of the iPhone 4 ("death grip" problems not withstanding) and the iPad added US$100 beeellion in market cap and helped push its stock price up seven percent. Depending on which financial analyst you talk to, Apple stock trades at between 15 and 17 times forward earnings; by comparison, Microsoft stock rings in at 12X, while Google packs a whopping 21%.
Speaking of the search giant: Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White sees a little black cloud on Apple's horizon — in the form of a little green robot. Pointing to the across-the-board spread of the Android OS, White warns "Almost everybody else is using Android. Looking out two to five years, they (Apple) need to make sure that Android doesn't do what Microsoft did to them in the PC market."