IBM Surpasses Microsoft, Claims No. 2 Tech Spot

Shift illustrates tech industry's move away from PCs
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2011 8:41 AM CDT
IBM Surpasses Microsoft, Claims No. 2 Tech Spot
In this 2010 file photo, people walk past a sign with the slogan "IBM - smarter together," at the CeBIT computer trade fair in Hannover, northern Germany.   (AP Photo/Focke Strangmann, file)

Microsoft, once the world’s most valuable tech company, has now fallen to third place. IBM surpassed Microsoft yesterday to take the second-place spot, as its market value rose to $214 billion and Microsoft’s fell to $213.2 billion. It marked the first time IBM’s closing prices exceeded Microsoft’s since 1996, Bloomberg reports. The new rankings illustrate the industry’s shift away from the personal computer: IBM sold its PC business six years ago and now focuses on software and services for the government and corporations; Apple, of course, surged past Microsoft to claim the No. 1 spot last year thanks to its iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Microsoft, on the other hand, still relies on PC software for most of its earnings. “Computing is now found in things that no one thinks of as ‘computers,’” said IBM’s CEO at a keynote address earlier this year. Notes an analyst, “IBM went beyond technology. They were early to recognize that computing was moving way beyond these boxes on our desks.” As Business Insider points out, Microsoft has failed to reinvent itself, and mobile and cloud computing have allowed not just Apple but Google and Amazon to intrude on its turf. In order to keep the rest of its monopoly from disappearing, Microsoft must similarly shift its focus to dominance in the enterprise, rather than consumer, market. (Read more Apple stories.)

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