IBM passes Microsoft?s market cap

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International Business Machines (IBM) has edged its old rival Microsoft Corp in market value for the first time in the past 15 years. This was marked by the latest twist in the fluctuating fortunes of two of the world?s most storied technology companies.

According to Reuters’ data, Apple?s market value stood at $309.2 billion, IBM at $203.8 billion and Microsoft at $203.7 billion, as on Monday. An investor who had put $100,000 in both the stocks, ten years ago would now have about $143,000 in IBM stock and close to $69,000 in Microsoft stock.

IBM had once ruled the computer industry, until it hired the tiny and then unknown Microsoft to provide an operating system for its personal computers in the early 1980s. But Microsoft parlayed the breakthrough into industry dominance, proving that software is more valuable than the hardware. However the internet technology bubble burst in 2000 and the tables reversed and over the years, younger rivals such as Google Inc and Facebook stole the limelight.

IBM is now ranked fourth in terms of market value in the United States; behind oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp at $397.4 billion, Apple, and industrial and finance conglomerate General Electric Co at $205.6 billion.

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