Apple’s stock has withered as demand for the iPhone 5 has fallen. This week, the stock fell below $500 per share. It’s a dramatic drop from September, when the stock was selling for more than $700 per share.

The Cupertino, Calif., company’s stratospheric rise has been the bane of Microsoft shareholders. Microsoft’s stock peaked in 2000, and has remained stolidly between $25 and $30 per share since then. The rise in the company’s market share, and wealth of shareholders here, was a major driver in the Puget Sound economy in the late ’90s.

Apple is just going through the same transition that Microsoft went through in 2000. That was when Bill Gates stepped down from his day to day responsibilities and Steve Ballmer became chief executive. Apple has now gone through the same transition, with Steve Jobs’ death and Tim Cook’s promotion to the top job.

Wall Street places its bets in tech visionaries like Gates and Jobs. It’s less enthused about sales guys, like Ballmer, and operations fellows, like Cook. It doesn’t matter if the company continues to break sales records, like Microsoft. may eventually go through the same pain.

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Check out this AP interactive graphic on Apple’s stock price.