Obviously it's not the absolute number (50k) that counts, but how it's distributed. (And those 50k are not even all programmers).
Microsoft has 5000 programmers just for Office.
Additionally, we are invited to "Contrast that with Google which has 72k employees". So, Google, which has almost exactly 20% more employees (after removing all retail and help center Apple employees), is supposed to be so much different, and an example of a large company? At least the comparison to Microsoft has more than a doubling of employees.
The argument that Apple works the way they do because they run their teams lean is fine, but let's not start acting like they're not a large company just because their culture is intentionally different in some aspects.
Edit: To be clear, by objection is to the premise "Apple is not a big company." which was the leading statement of the comment I replied to.
Businesses with thousand or more employees are so rare as percent of the whole that they deserve their own category anyway. As in, what you say about them wouldn't apply to businesses in general and vice versa.