Feeds

Microsoft, IBM tussle for tech value runner-up

Steve Jobs suppresses chuckle

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

IBM appears on the verge of passing Microsoft in market capitalization for the first time in 15 years, as the two duke it out for the number-two tech company slot, behind Apple.

IBM briefly surpassed Microsoft in stock value on Thursday, but as of noon Pacific time on Friday, Redmond was holding onto its number-two slot at $215.07bn, although IBM was close behind at $212.24bn. Apple, of course, rules the roost at $370.15bn, making it one of the most valuable companies in the world – depending on Exxon’s share price - although IBM and Microsoft have both shared Apple's top-tech status, as well.

If IBM can surpass its former bedmate, there will be some schadenfreude-filled celebrations in Armonk at close of business. Without IBM picking Microsoft to supply it with an operating system – or, rather, to buy an operating system from the Seattle Computer Company and slap a logo on it – then Bill Gates might have gone down in history as just another software CEO of modest success. For years it would visibly pain senior IBM management whenever this history was bought up.

That the two companies have become so close in market capitalization is down to a solid run of good performance in IBM’s share price and a more lackluster showing from Redmond. At this time last year, Microsoft’s value was about where it is today, but IBM was languishing at around $170 billion. IBM’s increasing focus on big data is now proving attractive to investors, while Redmond faces a shrinking PC market, reduced sales of its cash-cow applications suites, and a less-than-certain cloud and mobile future.

One could argue that market cap isn’t really that great an indicator of a company’s true value. After all, if a company’s share price falls 10 per cent, very little actually changes – its products and campuses certainly don’t become a tenth less valuable.

But for senior management and investors, stock prices matter a great deal. The former are concerned for their stock options, bonuses, and careers, and the latter fear for their retirement plans.

In the case of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the increasing rumblings from both staff and investors might make a further fall in his company's value a factor in his career – and possibly his (forced) retirement.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.