Apple More Valuable Than Microsoft: Does It Matter?

In a sign of Apple's continuing ascension to the top of the technology heap, at 2:30pm ET on Wednesday the company became the most valuable technology company in the world with a market capitalization of $227.1 billion. This was slightly more than Microsoft's $226.3 billion.

Both shares took a significant tumble late in the afternoon as the market gave up its gains and then some in the final hour of trading. Even so, Apple still finished in front at $222.1 billion, far ahead of Redmond at $219.2 billion.

How important is this? On the entire New York Stock Exchange there is only one American company that is more value, and that is oil giant Exxon Mobil. It also completes what could really be called a stunning comeback for Apple, which as recently as ten years ago had been in bad financial shape.

One ironic point: Microsoft itself could be credited with helping bring back Apple from the dead: in 1997, the company made a $150 million investment in the company shortly after Steve Jobs returned for his second and current stint as CEO.

Investors in Microsoft cannot be happy with what they're seeing here. Since 2005, Microsoft's stock has been essentially flat, posting a meager four percent increase. Compare this with Apple, whose stock has risen a staggering 550 percent in that same time period.

That to me is just crazy.

(Disclosure: Ed Oswald has small holdings of stock in both Microsoft and Apple, Inc.)

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