Apple Signals 3rd Great Technology Wave: Topples Microsoft as World’s Tech King

S-MICROSOFT-large Wall Street has just signaled the official start of the Third Great Wave of technology change: The most important technology product no longer sits on your desk but rather fits in your hand. It's mobile, interactive, immersive. It's about people, places, location, sharing; not websites on a PC. The first wave was the PC era; the 2nd wave was the Internet, said venture capitalist John Doerr.

Apple, the creator and manufacturer of iPods, iPhones and iPads, shot past Microsoft, the computer software giant, today to become the world’s most valuable technology company.

This shift caps one of the most stunning turnarounds in business history for Apple, which had been given up for dead only a decade earlier, when it wooed its co-founder and visionary chief executive, Steven P. Jobs along with its new operating system back from NEXT Computer. The rapidly rising value attached to Apple by investors also heralds an important cultural shift of Apple to a technology fashion company as consumer tastes overtook the needs of business and Microsoft's Windows Office as the leading force shaping technology.

On Wednesday, Apple Inc.'s shares slipped $1.11 to close at $244.11, making its market cap about $222 billion (market cap is the dollar value of a company's outstanding shares).The only U.S. business with a higher market value is Exxon Mobil Corp. The oil company's market cap is about $279 billion, based on Wednesday's closing price of $59.31.

Casey Kazan via New York Times and TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

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