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Apple Surpasses Microsoft to Become Largest Tech Company

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I mentioned Facebook privacy settings is one of the most controversial topics on TrustedReviews, but I suspect it won't be as controversial as this...

Late last night Apple officially passed Microsoft to become the largest tech company in the world after its share price value saw it reach $222bn (£154bn). Microsoft at the end of day's trading was worth $219bn.

What does all this mean? Well something and nothing. These values are taken using 'market capitalisation' which is calculated by multipling a company's total number of shares by the current value of each share. Amusingly Apple surpassed Microsoft despite its shares falling 0.4 per cent yesterday because Microsoft's shares fell four per cent.

Why it means nothing is Microsoft still has significantly higher revenue figures than Apple ($53.4bn vs $42.9bn), almost double the operating income ($20.4bn vs $11.74bn) and significantly larger total assets ($77.9bn vs $47.5bn) - all figures from the 2009 financial year.

Why it means something is Microsoft's figures are on their way down while Apple continues to report record quarter after record quarter and that has the stock market excited. The news is also a powerful reflection of the diversity of the technology sector these days. After all, Windows still holds a circa 90 per cent stranglehold on the world's computer operating systems while Mac OS remains under 10 per cent. And while Microsoft can point to the Xbox, Apple has the more powerful combination of iPhone and iPod.

It is also interesting to note Apple was nearly bankrupt in the early 1990s, which illustrates the monumental turn around at the company since the return of Steve Jobs.

Can Microsoft stop Apple's momentum? Certainly Windows 7 was a good start and its Windows platform will remain dominant for many years to come yet, but Windows Phone 7 has too far to catch up to iPhone OS as does Zune to iPod.

So in 10 years time who do we think will be the biggest tech company in the world? That's easy: Google...

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