Search engine giant Google has got a little more, well gigantic, becoming more valuable than Microsoft for the first time.
When markets closed on Monday, Google was showing a market value of a mammoth $249.9bn, compared to Microsoft’s $247.2bn.
Analysts say the turnaround is a real signal that the sector is shifting away from hardware sales towards internet and mobile technology as the firm which really defined computing in the 90s is now being outpaced by its rivals.
But both companies still have a very long way to go before they can catch up with runaway success Apple, which has a value of more than the two others put together, currently standing at $621bn.
Apple first passed Microsoft in value in May 2010, when it hit the $227.26bn mark, against Microsoft’s then $227.25bn.
An impressive share of the mobile market is being credited as the reason that Google has now followed suit to pass Bill Gates’ creation. And, given that Google’s Android operating system is installed on around two thirds of all smartphones sold across the globe and Google is continuing to invest heavily in the new technology, predictions are its star will continue to soar.
Meanwhile, Windows phones are languishing at the bottom of the market, but Microsoft will be hoping that changes, with new launches such as the Nokia 920, which is running on the new Windows 8 system.
Last year, Microsoft made $30bn from its Windows and Office operating system packages, with Google predicting it will make the same amount solely from its mobile division.
Given Google’s core business remains its search engine operation and that it is now so well used that “to Google” has become a verb, it’s no surprise its value it on the rise.
However, despite the disappointing results for Microsoft, it still remains one of the world’s biggest companies and one of the most recognised brands across the globe.
With Microsoft’s stock price becoming somewhat stagnant, some analysts point to the changeover in CEO in 2000 from Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer as the time the company’s fortunes changed.
The company did have some notable successes during that time, including the Xbox, but other products like the Vista operating system failed to hit their target.
Microsoft also launched its Bing search engine, spending billions on it in a bid to scupper Google, but only around 16 per cent of searches in the US are carried out on Bing, and the figure is lower elsewhere.
But Microsoft does still hold crucial markets, with its server software being the technology of choice for business clients and most new PCs coming with Windows.
But with more and more businesses moving into the cloud, Microsoft may find Google starts to get a bigger slice of that pie too. “There’s been a huge structural shift where traditional software is changing to cloud-based services,” said Andrew Lange of Morningstar, which provides investment data.
But he said it was too early to rule Microsoft out as Microsoft is getting ready to unleash a new wave of internet-based products of its own, with Windows 8 set to give tablets the power of a fully-fledged PC.
”There’s no reason Microsoft can’t get back to No. 1,” Lange said. ”If Apple can do it, Microsoft can, too.”