Apple to $1,000, Starbucks $100, Pandora $50, -- Here's Why

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Look around the broad tech space. You see plenty of posers. Cats who like to take meetings in coffee shops, pace airport terminals while talking on their iPhones and throw around buzzwords.

Spend more than 30 seconds in LAX or SFO's Virgin America terminal and you'll see what I mean. Instantly. In full, pretentious and annoying color.

But what are these people actually doing?

Outside of a startup culture that's more creative and exciting than ever (especially in areas such as mobile, data, music and Internet radio) and a handful of established players actually bringing the fruits of their focus and innovation to the people, there's not a whole lot happening.

Microsoft's (MSFT) so desperate, it feels the need to entertain the idea of dual OS smartphones. Apple's the only company with a truly inspiring domestic marketshare story.

But we're told Hey, Microsoft does well in Slovenia! Or does it? And Apple haters try to convince us that Samsung matters beyond being a marketshare slut. I ought to rip that Bluetooth outta your ear. Nobody gets excited about Samsung products. And the fragmentation of Android by Google (GOOG) certainly isn't worth emailing, texting or Snapchatting home about.

Meantime, sadly, Intel (INTC) Media failed. And, despite the company's best efforts, Intel will not even be able to snatch a moral victory from the jaws of defeat for Windows Mobile. Microsoft tinkers behind closed doors with robots and such, but, outside of Xbox, we see none of this alleged innovation make it to market in a way that excites consumers.

I could continue, but you get the picture ...

When you have to point to Starbucks (SBUX) as a one of the leaders in tech/data/mobile, you know -- no offense to Howard Schultz and Adam Brotman -- you've got problems.

That's why I love writing about startups and a handful of the best in breed -- Apple, Pandora, Starbucks, etc. I give Google a pass for reasons discussed in Google to $2,000 in 2014.

Given the way it dominates advertising, the tinkering at Google isn't wasted like it is at Microsoft; in fact, at any moment it feels like GOOG will unleash another inner beast and create or kill a category. Heck, outside of ad clicks, it won't make any money from it, but, along with Apple, it will end up taking down Microsoft's Windows and Office empire.

(That's a line of thought I introduced back in October 2012, by the way, that The Motley Fool now tries make its own in 2014. Don't think I'm not watching, you thieves!).

In other words, Google, Apple, Pandora and Starbucks do not innovate in vacuums. The things they do positively impact the lives of millions of people in one way or another or more. All four companies spew fresh air in a toxic climate that has practically every other poser and player feebly reacting to what works.

I'm remiss to leave (AMZN) out, but they could just as easily be included in this mix. A mix that's all about confidence that breeds focus ... 

If you liked this article you might like

Preet Bharara Was Wall Street's Top Cop But Now He Is Just a Big-Time Podcaster

Shark Tank Star Kevin O'Leary Is Trying to Solve America's Retirement Crisis

The 12 Most Ridiculous Kitchen Appliances You Can Buy From Amazon