Apple dethroned Microsoft as the world's most valuable technology company. Microsoft, with its Windows and Office software franchises, has dominated the relationship most people had with their computers for almost two decades, but the click-clack of the keyboard has ceded ground to the swipe of a finger across a smartphone's touch screen. Over all, the technology industry sold about 172 million smartphones last year, compared with 306 million PCs, but smartphone sales grew at a pace five times faster.
Apple posted a market value of $222 billion. That compared to Microsoft's market value of $219 billion. Apple has ridden to its new heights on the back of cutting-edge technology gadgets, including the iPod, iPhone and most recently the iPad. And its stock price has been rewarded by shareholders as a result. Apple's stock has surged 1030% in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, Microsoft's stock has remained relatively stagnant during that period, losing 18%.