Thursday, May 27, 2010

Apple Passes Microsoft

On Wednesday, Apple passed Microsoft to become the world's most valuable technology company based on market capitalization.

While the two may end up trading positions for weeks and months to come, the unseating of the Redmond software giant captures the rise of consumer gadgets over workhorse corporate software.

Microsoft continually has dismissed Apple for its single-digit percentage of the PC market. With the launch of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, however, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has continually dazzled Wall Street traders with the new, new thing.

Traders appear somewhat bored by Windows and Office, even if the software continues to rake in billions of dollars.

As Roger Sterling said in the TV show "Mad Men" about ad accounts, "Old business is just old business."

It only took a few decades, but Microsoft is no longer the top technology company around. According to estimated market value yesterday, Apple managed to overtake the corporation behind Windows and our beloved Xbox 360s. At the closing of the stock market yesterday, Microsoft was estimated to be worth $219.18 billion while Apple was worth slightly more at $222.12 billion.

This is a massive change of fortune for Apple, which nearly died an ignoble death in the mid-90s thanks to its dire finances. Things started to change when Steve Jobs came back to the company in 1996, when things began to turn around and Apple started putting out computers and devices that people actually wanted to buy again.

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