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Jim Cramer says it is time for investors to acknowledge a new dynamic in the market: in most industries, companies that make the best use of the internet will win.
Cramer can pound the table on better earnings and stronger revenues, but he knows it all comes down to survival in the end.
"Their survival might very well depend on how well they are able to integrate technology in general, and the web in particular, because that is how you beat the competition," the "Mad Money " host said.
"You can beat Amazon's prices with it, something no one else has been able to do consistently, and that means it can be a potent arrow in Wal-Mart's quiver," Cramer said.
In other words, Wal-Mart is in a position where it must beat Amazon, and it has the ability to offer ultra-low prices because of its scale.
As a brick and mortar operation, Wal-Mart has massive infrastructure and labor costs, which makes it very hard to compete against a web retailer like Amazon. Cramer thinks Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon means business.
"He needs something special, not only to pull away from Wal-Mart's competitors, but to orchestrate a pincer move against Amazon with low-price brick-and-mortar and low-price web, and buying Jet.com might be the answer," Cramer said.
If it were anyone else, Cramer would see a CEO fired for paying $3 billion for a money-losing website like Jet.com. But McMillon has the backing of the Walton family, the balance sheet and the directive to spend in order to win. Cramer believes Jet.com could make Wal-Mart a winner.
Apple knows the importance of digital, too. When CEO Tim Cook said the company's service revenue stream will be as big as a Fortune 100 company by next year, Cramer interpreted that as meaning Apple could generate $30 billion in service revenue at a minimum, which could prompt investors to pay more for the stock. Right now, Apple's earnings streams are viewed as episodic, he said.
"If the iPhone 7 is good, the stock can roar higher, but if the new iPhone fails to impress, the stock goes back down to the purgatory of the low $90s where this miraculous run started," Cramer said.
Many analysts have dismissed the strength of Apple's service revenue, and think it is a hardware company running out of gas. This explains why the stock only sells for 8 times earnings, which makes it cheaper than most groups in the market. However, if it were just about the hardware, Cramer thinks the stock would be priced much lower.
"The internet can't save every company, and there are many industries where it doesn't even matter. But after each earnings season, I realize that's a shrinking universe," Cramer said.
Ultimately, the internet is a beast, Cramer said, and it must be fed, or it will eat everything in its way. The smartest companies have figured this out, and they're now feeding the beast with record amounts of money.