Apple's record sales and growth could continue for the next two years, pushing the company to becoming a $200 billion behemoth and eventually dwarfing the revenue of tech giants like IBM and Hewlett-Packard, according to one analyst.
That claim was made by Forrester Research's founder and CEO George Colony during an interview with Bloomberg earlier today. Colony suggested that the company's hardware successes with the iPad and iPhone had created a cycle where those same customers buy applications in the App Store, then continue to buy Apple's products to keep using the software.
But that ecosystem may be in danger. Citing the importance of Apple's CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently on his third medical leave from the company, Colony said without Jobs in the picture, Apple's current line-up of products in development would last some "three to four years."
On the sales side, Bloomberg cites analysts predicting a 54 percent growth of sales for Apple through September (which is when the company's fiscal year ends), dropping down to 18 percent in 2012.
Apple's growth run continues to intrigue onlookers. The company made waves last year when it passed Microsoft in terms of market capitalization. While the company's Mac OS holds the minority share of computer users, its seen stronger hardware sales compared to the PC industry as a whole. That includes a growth rate of Mac shipments that was eight times what competitors were pushing out, based on numbers released by IDC in October. Mac shipments also saw a 23.7 percent year-on-year growth in the fourth-quarter, based on a report released by Gartner in January.
Apple's also become a force in the smartphone market, with recent numbers from the U.S. putting the iPhone neck and neck with devices from Research in Motion, both of which sit just behind Google's Android. On the front lines of that battle is not only the hardware, but the software and software distribution systems that power the purchasing of applications. Just this week Apple filed a lawsuit against online retail giant Amazon for pushing in on the App Store moniker, which Apple had filed a trademark for following its introduction. Nevertheless, Amazon went ahead and launched its "Appstore" the next day.