Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple vs. Amazon: Bizzaro valuations revisited

January 29, 2013: 11:00 PM ET

The value the market assigns these two companies gets more absurd each quarter

Click to enlarge. Charts: Jeff F.

Click to enlarge. Charts: Jeff F.

FORTUNE -- Last week, Apple's profits grew and its share price plummeted. This week, Amazon's profits plummeted and its share price soared.

Confused? So was much of the business press. Consider this matched pair of headlines:

Reuters: "Amazon shares set record after strong quarterly profit"

Fortune: "Amazon profits take a dive"

The New York Times offered what may be the most charitable explanation for what Mr. Market thinks he's doing: "A glorious future beats a glorious past."

That assumes, of course, that the glory that was Apple is no more, and that Amazon's investments in the future will someday -- hopefully within a few millennia -- pay off.

To illustrate the absurdity of the current situation -- in which Amazon's (AMZN) shares are valued at 3,099 times trailing earnings and Apple's (AAPL) are valued at 10.39 -- reader Jeff F. has prepared this helpful set of charts.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for

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