Mobile Devices Push Apple To Front Of Tech Stock Pack

After decades playing second (and often times third or fourth) fiddle to Microsoft, Apple finally moved to the head of the class yesterday, passing the software behemoth to become the most valuable tech company in the world.

Yesterday, the value of Apple on Wall Street stood at $222.12 billion, a few billion more than Microsoft at $219.18 billion. In addition to making Apple the #1 tech company in terms of total value, it also made the iPhone maker the second-highest American company overall next to Exxon Mobil ($278.64 billion).

What has finally pushed Apple — previously viewed as a niche computer manufacturer — over the top has been the company’s focus on portable personal electronics.

The turnaround started almost a decade ago with the introduction of the iPod — and of course the iTunes store, which has since gone on to sell much more than music.

Then of course came the iPhone, which has added billions in revenue to the Apple coffers since its introduction in 2007. Additionally, Apple has lined its pockets with money from the iPhone (and now iPad) App Store, the only place that users can purchase and download applications for the device.

Explains the NY Times:

And Apple is in the right place at the right time. Although it still sells computers, twice as much revenue is coming from hand-held devices and music. 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.

Microsoft loudmouth Steve Ballmer pish-poshed the changing of the guard. “No technology company on the planet is more profitable than we are,” he said. “On any given day, the stock market is a voting machine… in the long run is it a weighing machine.”

Apple Passes Microsoft as No. 1 in Tech [NY Times]