Apple's (NAS: AAPL) Steve Jobs believed that a truly excellent company should focus on making the product great, and the profits will then follow. He told his biographer that his passion was "to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products" and that "everything else was secondary." Ultimately, the products, not the profits, have to be the motivation, according to Jobs.
This is simple, yet very wise, advice. And we think it's advice that's being followed by the three technology companies we're recommending for July. With all of the market uncertainty out there right now, we're placing an emphasis on high-quality companies in our 10-Bagger, real-money portfolio. Let's review three outstanding tech companies that continue to innovate, as they prioritize the creation of great products above all else.
The iconic consumer-electronics company is dominating the mobile platform with its iPhone and iPad franchises. Its devices are huge sellers because they appeal to broad demographics and have the most content to offer. With the iPhone5 due out soon and rumors of a smaller tablet in the works, Apple appears likely to remain on top of the mobile-computing mountain. And let's not forget that Mac sales continue to grow, too, even in the face of flat PC sales.
Apple currently has $28.5 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet, plus an additional $81.6 billion in long-term investments. Subtracting those figures from its $567 billion market cap, Apple would be worth $457 billion, or just over 10 times a 2012 earnings estimate of $47 per share. So the best business in the world today is trading at an extraordinary price. How many times do you get excellence at a discount?
Google (NAS: GOOG) remains the dominant advertising platform on the Internet today. It's still well ahead of competitor Yahoo!, which continues to struggle with declining sales and flat profits. And it's also making incredible progress with its Android operating system for mobile devices.
At the end of the first quarter of 2012, Android grew from 36% to 59% of market share for smartphone operating systems. And the more smartphones with Android, the more Google learns about how people use them. We also can't forget about the launch of Google's Nexus 7 tablet, which is going to have lots of content available to it right off the bat, unlike Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) Surface, which we think will struggle initially.
Adjusting for the $47.6 billion of cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet, Google's operating businesses trade for just 11.7 times a 2012 earnings estimate of $37.50 per share. That makes Google's stock extremely attractive relative to its quality and future earnings potential. It seems we've found another incredible business trading at a discount. What's going on here?
Last but not least, we think investors should take a closer look at Facebook (NAS: FB) , the dominant social-media platform in the world today. The media frenzy surrounding the company's disastrous IPO resulted in a considerable decline in its shares. We don't think any of that, however, affected the overall quality of its business.
Facebook continues to create new ways of monetizing its social network. In particular, the company is addressing its mobile weakness by using "sponsored content" to sell ads. It also appears to be building a social commerce platform. Being both an advertising and commerce platform would give Facebook a lot of options to generate future revenue.
Facebook is still very early in its life cycle, so it's difficult to put a meaningful valuation on the company. We're pretty excited about all of the valuable options the company has for the future, however. With more than 900 million users and a vibrant hacker culture that's always ready to test and learn, Facebook looks like a very attractive long-term investment.
Our mobile future
One of the biggest trends out there right now is the revolution in mobile technology that is disrupting the overall tech landscape. We're extremely confident that Apple and Google will maintain their dominance as this trend evolves even further. We also believe that Facebook's hacker culture will allow it to profit as well from this trend, though its challenge is arguably more difficult. We'll be following all the developments very closely in our 10-Bagger portfolio.
Our analysts at The Motley Fool have also been analyzing the revolution in mobile technology. To better prepare investors for this massive trend, they have released a free report named "The Next Trillion-Dollar Revolution" that details a very promising company poised to deliver solid returns in the future. This has been one of our most popular reports, and you can access it today -- it's free.
And if you want to learn whether our top tech analyst thinks you should buy Apple, make sure you check out our brand-new premium research report on the company.
At the time thisarticle was published John Reeves owns shares of Google and Apple. David Meier owns shares of Apple. You can follow John and David on Twitter,@TenBaggers.The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Facebook, Apple, and Google.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google and creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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