Apple's iPhone isn't Bigger Than McDonald's -- Yet

The iPhone is a pretty big deal, and a Businessweek article points out how big it truly is at this point.

Breaking out the iPhone into own brand with $88.4 billion in sales over the past four quarters would make the iconic smartphone bigger than 21 of the Dow 30 components and larger than 474 of the S&P 500 companies.

It's a strong point, and it's a feat that's even more impressive because Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) handset is still gaining in popularity. Apple's iPhone revenue climbed nearly 15% in its latest quarter, just enough to offset declining iPad, Mac, and iPod sales.

Analysts see revenue at Apple growing at a 2% clip this year and 1% during the holiday quarter, and that's entirely the handiwork of iPhone sales more than making up for the deficiencies elsewhere at the consumer tech giant.

However, it's also important to be fair.

You're going to see a lot of people run away with the meatier comparisons. Apple's iPhone outsells McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) . The iconic Apple smartphone is a bigger business than all of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) . However, you may want to fact-check that Mickey D's claim.

McDonald's may have reported $27.6 billion in revenue last year, but that's not how much the brand raked in. The world's largest fast food chain also helped franchisees generate $69.7 billion in sales. Back out the nearly $9 billion in franchise revenue that McDonald's is recording and you get $88.3 billion in sales across all McDonald's restaurants last year. Systemwide sales have inched higher through the first half of this year, narrowly pushing the brand's sales over the past four quarters past the iPhone's $88.4 billion. 

Coca-Cola isn't as easy to gauge, but it's another company that isn't being depicted fairly. The beverage giant's $47.6 billion in trailing sales is a big number, but the actual consumer transactions for the pop star's carbonated fare is much larger than that. After all, Coca-Cola may own some of its bottlers, but it's merely selling syrup to the rest of them worldwide. Naturally the revenue that it records from restaurant fountain sales is a lot less than what consumers are paying.

The iPhone is huge. The iPhone is great. However, it will take another year or so of healthy growth before we can truthfully say that it's outselling McDonald's.

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