Google set to surpass Microsoft in value; Facebook is next

The leaders of two very different computing eras are now each worth roughly $200 billion.

Brace yourself for the next passing of the torch in the tech industry.

Google, the leader of the Internet era of computing through the aughts, now has a $200 billion market capitalization and is on the verge of passing Microsoft's market cap of $215 billion. Microsoft was the leader of the PC era of computing and continues to dominate the desktop, notebook, and server software market for Intel-based x86 computers.

I've been closely watching the relative valuation of these two companies for almost four years--ever since I predicted that Google would exceed Microsoft's valuation. The recent stock moves must come as a high note for Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, who competed with--and lost to--Microsoft at both Sun Microsystems, as its CTO, and Novell, as its CEO.

Google's market capitalization (orange line) is creeping up on that of Microsoft (blue line) YChart

IBM, which led the mainframe and minicomputer era of business computing and now provides software and services around such hardware, recently passed Microsoft's market capitalization as well and is now worth $221 billion.

Oracle, which led the client/server era of business computing is worth $146 billion, but early this year was near parity with IBM, Microsoft, and Google. Apple, the leader of the post-PC era of smartphones and tablets, is an exception with a market capitalization of $353 billion. However, Apple is currently at a peak level of accelerated growth and some Wall Street analysts are predicting that it will settle.

Facebook is reportedly planning a public offering next year at a valuation of $100 billion . Although many question this valuation as high, it is likely that the leader of the social era of computing will be worth as much as the companies that drove the mainframe, desktop, client/server, and Internet eras.

About the author

Peter Yared is the CTO of CBS Interactive and was previously the founder and CEO of four e-commerce and marketing infrastructure companies. Peter's software has powered brands from Fidelity to Home Depot to Lady Gaga. Peter is the inventor of several patents on core Internet infrastructure, including federated single sign-on and dynamic data requests. Peter began programming games and utilities at age 10, and started his career developing systems for government agencies. Peter has written for VentureBeat, BusinessWeek, AdWeek, and InfoWorld.

 

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