Well, this is surprising. At 2:30 PM on Wednesday, Apple took the top spot from Microsoft as the world's most valuable technology company. That's quite the milestone. In other news, hell has frozen over and pigs — and monkeys — have learned to fly.
The distance between the two companies is incredibly narrow. When Apple took the lead, it had a market capitalization of $227.1 billion to Microsoft's $226.3 billion. After a little Wall Street voodoo later that afternoon, Apple was still in the lead after both companies dived down to $222.1 billion and $219.2 billion (Microsoft being the latter figure).
So, how did this happen? Well, Microsoft's stock hasn't seen any significant growth since '05, trickling along with only a 4% increase. Apple, on the other hand, has enjoyed a 550% rise. Some analysts attribute Microsoft's slow growth to the huge amounts of money the company has been pouring into its online sectors — you know, to solidify stuff like an online version of Word — whereas Apple has been pretty trim in comparison with iTunes, the iPhone and its iPod line.
Will Apple be able to keep its lead? Who knows. Maybe we'll start to see the companies starting to play a little more nice, as Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer himself is rumored to be speaking at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference.
Via Maximum PC