Microsoft jumps, Apple slumps following the iPhone 4S announcement

Microsoft jumps, Apple slumps following the iPhone 4S announcement

Everyone has their own take on Apple’s event today, and its myriad product announcements, but the market seems to have a clear view of the news: Microsoft up, Apple down.

Watching the financial markets after any major piece of news is important, but it is also critical to track what happens in tandem. If one mobile company announces a new product, and its competitors spike, it is a clear signal that investors of all sorts were not impressed.

So when I tell you that Apple slumped over half a percent on the day, and at one point was down more than $25 from intraday highs, anyone can make the connection that the market was at best ambivalent with its pronouncements. I would not say disappointed, but hardly giddy might be fair.

Now to our corollary, what happened to Apple’s competitor’s stock prices following the firm’s big speech? We’ll look at Microsoft, its classic rival, and foe across a dozen product lines. As it turns out, Microsoft found new legs in the market, especially as the day’s trading wore on, and Apple’s news had time to reverberate. MSFT was up 3.3% today, and has held onto those gains in after-hours trading.

What does this mean? It could be a sign that the Windows Phone platform, which has been enjoying a few weeks’ worth of positive news, is being voted by the market as having a better than anticipated shot at a successful holiday sales cycle. At least, that is how we read it.

Of course, other products that Apple announced upgrades to today compete with various Microsoft products, so we must avoid anything approaching a one-to-one comparison, but the Windows Phone v. iPhone narrative is more than media-made.

The iPhone 4S is going to sell like the dickens, but perhaps Apple has left the door ajar a hair’s width for Microsoft’s competing platform. Then again, if recent advertising trends hold, Microsoft certainly has the potential to squander the helping hand.

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