back to article Microsoft, IBM tussle for tech value runner-up

IBM appears on the verge of passing Microsoft in market capitalization for the first time in 15 years, as the two duke it out for the number-two tech company slot, behind Apple. IBM briefly surpassed Microsoft in stock value on Thursday, but as of noon Pacific time on Friday, Redmond was holding onto its number-two slot at $ …


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  1. Mikel

    Ballmer is doing great

    I hope he stays put, executing his vision. I like where he is taking the company.

    The day he decides to "spend more time with his family" his wealth should double though. That's hardly a just reward for the quality of his service.

    1. Ammaross Danan

      "Where he is taking the company"

      Because the world would be a better place if all the Wintards moved to MacOS? Sorry, I'll stick with the lesser of two evils. (no linux people, Ubuntu or otherwise would not become the "next big OS." You know as well as I they'd run to Apple because "their iPhone is hip").

  2. thecakeis(not)alie

    [quote]In the case of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the increasing rumblings from both staff and investors might make a further fall in his company's value a factor in his career – and possibly his (forced) retirement.[/quote]

    Amen, we can only hope, and good riddance when he's finally gone.

  3. Matt Banks

    Yeah, Apple should just liquidate and give all the money back to their shareholders.

    Oh how times have changed.

  4. RegGuy

    IBM = M$

    So IBM is now the same size as M$. But there is a difference. IBM has been running away from its traditional markets, as the PC and midrange systems have become more and more commoditised. They have been following the money and developing the higher value end of the market (smarter planet and business analytics are playing to their strengths).

    M$, on the other hand, had a strategy of getting a PC onto everyone's desk and in everyone's home. They've done that, but where to now? Their dominance was all tied in with locking in the corporate/consumer onto their platform, and then upselling. But mobile handsets are removing this restriction, and they don't seem to have a viable long term strategy.

    So while the equation is IBM=M$, it looks like this is only temporary as IBM are on the way up, and M$ on the way... well not sure where actually, but it doesn't seem to be up.

  5. vladostro

    There is little chance that Microsoft's share price will remain at those levels in the coming years.

    Microsoft is benefiting now from the XP & Vista to Win 7 upgrade cycle, but it is bound to slow down in the coming years. If people hold on to XP for so long (it is still the most popular OS), then Win 7 is likely to get entrenched even more. Windows 8 will essentially be a tablet OS - its desktop side will probably not offer any benefits over Win 7. And Office upgrades are going to mirror the Windows ones.

    Then IMO Microsoft has no future in mobile and on top of that they will be forced to shell some 25-30 Billion for Nokia... Once Nokia announces its 3rd and 4th quarter results its stock will go down so hard that MS will have no choice, otherwise somebody else will by it to sell in parts. Then even with Nokia MS will not manage to get hold of more than 10% of the market, and that cannot bring the much needed replacement cash cow.

    1. OrsonX

      Why so gloomy?

      MS seem to be on the up to me.

      Mango looks great.

      Win8 Metro tablets looks good.

      Xbox mew Metro update looks good.

      Soon all 3 will be one shared environment for you media and games.

      As for MS having to buy Nokia... probably best for everybody. Stops Nokia dissapearing* completely and give MS and instant MS-Nokia super phone. Where's the fail?

      [*just what the hell are they doing? They announced the WP7 phone eaons ago! Same old problems it would seem. Are they waiting for iPhone5 to launch first just so they can have even less market share????]

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS will start to heave the ballast over the side when the time is right

    MS is currently carrying a number of divisions that make huge losses, some of these may develop into profitable units, others will eventually be heaved over the side just as a hot air balloon sheds sand bags, in order to generate EBITDA and hold fast margins. Growth stops, the weight is shed, the share price climbs again.

    There are still a lot of senior people left at IBM that remember the OS/2 / Microsoft falling out. Bill Gates once wrote that OS/2 was "destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time." Shortly after then, and with help from Citrix, Microsoft dumped OS/2 development, sealing it's fate and the fate of the hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) invested in it by IBM.

    There is definitely appetite within IBM to give MS a spanking.


  7. JDX Gold badge

    People have been saying MS is on the way out for nearly as long as saying that fusion power is 'right around the corner'. Which is about the same time that 'M$' was sharp and funny rather than pathetic and derivative.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      The industry moves slowly

      Right. IT workers and pundits love to make wild predictions about the industry, in part because they believe it changes quickly. But for the most part it doesn't change nearly as fast as popular opinion would have it.

      The reports of Microsoft's impending demise are like the predictions we've seen since, oh, the mid-1980s about the impending extinction of mainframes, or of older languages like COBOL and Fortran, or of relational databases, and so on. Big customers tend to keep older technology around for a long time, because that's the most economical move (once risk, etc is factored in) - for the business itself and/or for the primary decision-makers.

      Love 'em or hate 'em, Microsoft and IBM both have large installed bases with conservative customers; their fortunes will wax and wane, but they'll be around for a good while yet.

  8. Sirius Lee


    That popping noise is unlikely to be champagne in the IBM boardroom but a prelude to a cider shower as one huge bubble of apples bursts. And when it does, give a thought to all those regular people who will lose out on their investment.

    Either that or the analysts and advisers know of some absolutely fantastic products Apple has in the pipeline which will compelling to absolutely everyone. How else can that stock price be so inflated? If the Apple price is justified, I really look forward to the forthcoming apple products because I'll know that after resisting so long I'll just have to go with the flow.

  9. RightPaddock


    MS & IBM will Merge within 3 years

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