Ten years ago, TiVo‘s (NASDAQ:TIVO) digital video recording device was one of the hottest consumer products available, a machine that fundamentally changed living room entertainment. The service that TiVo’s product offered now is available on almost every set-top box from every cable provider in the country, not to mention rendered moot by streaming video options available on mobile devices like the iPad. A July 1 Business Week report said the company – a potential acquisition target now that it has settled an ongoing dispute with Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) – could sell for $20 per share, valuing it close to $2.5 billion. The entire business of a once-hot consumer technology isn’t worth even half of what the iPad generates in a single quarter.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), the last remaining major book retail chain in the U.S., is trying to follow in Apple’s footsteps as it evolves its business. Barnes & Noble used to be in the business of big retail spaces. Now it’s in the Nook business, increasingly putting its hopes in its e-reader, as well as the digital book and media sales it spurs as the future foundation of its business. Not a bad idea. Total sales for the company’s last fiscal year that ended April 30 totaled $7 billion, a 20% increase over fiscal 2010. Barnes & Noble’s entire business, both online and across nearly 1,000 retail outlets, totals just $1 billion more than Apple’s quarterly iPad business.
There is perhaps no greater demonstration of how impressive the iPad’s value is than in the earnings of Apple’s greatest rival. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its Windows operating system have largely defined the computing business since 1990. The company reported earnings Thursday for its 2011 fiscal year. The Windows division declined 2%, generating just $19 billion during the year. The platform generated close to $4.5 billion in the first quarter. The iPad might very well end up being more valuable than Microsoft Windows this year.