IBM Has Greater Market Value than Microsoft

By Beecher Tuttle May 23, 2011

IBM has surpassed Microsoft to become the second most valuable technology company in the U.S., ending a 15-year reign for the software giant.

At the close of business on Friday, IBM had a market valuation of $207.52 billion. That topped Microsoft’s market cap of $206.52 billion. The last time IBM was worth more than Microsoft was in April of 1996, when the PC maker had a market value of $63.3 billion.

Three years later, Microsoft’s value more than doubled that of IBM when it hit a high of $612.5 billion. However, the Armonk, New York-based tech company has steadily made up ground over the last decade. IBM shares have increased by 45 percent over the last 10 years while Microsoft’s stock price has remained relatively flat, according to GeekWire.

Friday’s news comes about a year after Apple jumped Microsoft to become the most valuable technology company in the nation. Apple has since pulled away from the other two companies. The iPhone maker currently boasts a $308 billion market cap, which is almost $100 billion higher than it was last year when Apple leapfrogged Microsoft. 

It is unclear how long IBM can hold off Microsoft for the second spot; the technology rivals may flip positions considerably over the upcoming months. Washington-based Microsoft is still far more profitable than IBM, even though the PC maker is technically more valuable at the moment.

Microsoft reported a net income of $18.7 billion on $62 billion in revenue in 2010. In contrast, IBM posted a profit of $14.8 billion on $99 billion in sales during the same period. Microsoft’s ability to consistently generate profits stems, in part, from the dominance of its suite of Office software products.

In a recent Forrester poll, only 3 percent of IT decision makers said that they are actively implementing a Web-based alternative to Microsoft Office.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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