September 30, 2011, 4:25 PM — First Apple, now Big Blue. Again.
After years as the most valuable technology company in the world, Microsoft once more has slipped down the market capitalization charts.
The software giant fell behind IBM on Thursday, finishing the day with a value of $213.2 billion, slightly below IBM's $214 billion.
Both were down in Friday trading, though IBM retained its slim lead with a market cap of $208.8 billion to Microsoft's $208.5 billion.
Apple, which passed Microsoft last year to take the top spot, is now worth $354 billion.
This isn't the first time Big Blue has pulled ahead of Microsoft. It did so last May, but shares slumped in the late spring while Microsoft's stock ascended in early summer.
So nothing is written in stone here. Still, given that Microsoft was worth nearly $600 billion in 1999, this latest stumble isn't going to much to quell cries for CEO Steve Ballmer's head.
Do any other tech companies have Microsoft in their sites? Not really, though AT&T closed Friday with a market cap of $169.0 billion and Oracle at $145.3 billion.
If I were to choose one of them as the next to catch Microsoft, I'd pick Oracle. AT&T faces a lot of uncertainty, what with the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to prevent the telco's acquisition of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom.