Apple Passes Microsoft as Most Valuable Tech Company

Apple has just surpassed Microsoft in market capitalization and is now second only to Exxon Mobil among U.S. companies.

The data is changing second by second. Apple and Microsoft have switched back and forth a number of times over the past hour, but with Apple’s stock up and Microsoft’s down, it looks like Apple will likely end the day in the second position.

Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying the share price times the number of outstanding shares. It is often used as a public metric of a company’s overall net worth.

This comes less than three months after Apple passed Walmart to become the company with the third-highest market cap. Since that time, Apple’s stock has continued to rise (it is hovering between $245 and $246 a share as of this writing, hitting a high of $251 today); meanwhile, Microsoft’s shares have declined.

After decreasing in October of 2008 and then again in January of 2009 (when Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a six-month leave of absence), Apple’s stock has been on the rise. In fact, it has increased 95% over the last 52 weeks.

It’s interesting to look at the company’s trajectory over the last decade and its transformation from also-ran computer maker to digital and computer technology behemoth.

See more here.

Wal-Mart to Face Massive Class Action Suit

Gender discrimiation is a big deal. Now Wal-Mart is finding out how big a deal it really is. They have been slapped with a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit according to this article in Time Magazine.

A sharply divided federal appeals court on Monday exposed Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to billions of dollars in legal damages when it ruled a massive class action lawsuit alleging gender discrimination over pay for female workers can go to trial.

In its 6-5 ruling, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said the world’s largest private employer will have to face charges that it pays women less than men for the same jobs and that female employees receive fewer promotions and have to wait longer for those promotions than male counterparts. (See the top 10 news stories of 2009.)

The retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., has fiercely fought the lawsuit since it was first filed by six women in federal court in San Francisco in 2001, losing two previous rulings in the trial court and again in the appeals court in 2007.

Only time will tell on how the federal courts will rule on this important case.

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