Updated to reflect stock changes as Apple passed Microsoft as regular trading drew to a close.
Apple has long been the little guy in the Mac vs. PC debate, but that's no longer the case.
As of trading near the end of the day on Tuesday, Apple has passed up Microsoft in terms of market capitalization, with a value of roughly $222 billion--about $3 billion ahead of Microsoft. Apple had been flirting with the milestone for days and had already passed Microsoft by another measure--a valuation known as enterprise value which adds in debt and other factors.
The fact that Apple, not Microsoft, is the more valuable franchise represents a remarkable turn of events in the history of computing.
Consider this: As recently as 1997, Michael Dell suggested Apple should just close up shop and return the money to shareholders. Today, Dell is worth barely a tenth as much as the Mac maker.
That same year, Apple had to accept a $150 million investment from Microsoft. Bill Gates famously appeared at Macworld via satellite, dwarfing the on-stage Steve Jobs as he announced the company's commitment to the Mac.
Of course, all that was before Mac OS X, the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad. The Cube and Apple TV aside, Apple has had an incredible run of products over the last decade.
Read the rest of this article at CNET News.com.