Analyst: Apple to Double Growth, Outpace IBM by 2013

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Talk about a comeback. The Cupertino-based company that couldn’t make a product stick a decade and a half ago looks to become a $200 billion revenue juggernaut by the end of 2012.

That, says Forrester Research CEO George Colony, would make Apple even bigger than IBM.

Thank the rise of apps, the new hurricane force driving mobile hardware sales, and in turn catalyzed by them.

Apple posted 52 percent sales growth through last year, and Colony says we can expect the company to continue doing so through 2012. Not too shabby for a company that 15 years ago had its mobile timing upside down (remember PalmPilot and Apple’s own iPhone forerunner, the Newton?).

“They’ll be bigger than IBM next year, and they’ll be bigger than HP the year after that,” Colony told Bloomberg, which–if current growth rates continue, as Colony expects them to–means “they’re going to be a $200 billion revenue company.”

Or, put another way, the largest technology company in the world. The company already ranks first by market capitalization (the share price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding).

Though most of that success so far belongs to sales of the iPad (over 15 million through April 2011) and the iPhone (around 90 million sold since launch four years ago), Apple won’t be able to sustain its growth on hardware sales alone. The future, argues Colony, is app-centric, which doesn’t bode well for  web-angled companies like Google.

“If you’re too Web-centric right now, you’re in trouble,” said Colony.

The days of scanning web pages and clicking the occasional ad link to help companies like Google pay their bills? Gone with the wind, in an app-centered universe.

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