UPDATE 1-Apple knocks off Microsoft as biggest tech

Wed May 26, 2010 3:09pm EDT

* Apple market cap exceeds rival Microsoft

* Marks huge turnaround from troubled 1990s

* Apple second only to Exxon in S&P 500

* Apple shares up 1 pct above $247

* Microsoft shares down 2.2 pct to $25.50

SEATTLE, May 26 (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) shot past Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) as the world's biggest tech company as measured by market value on Wednesday, the latest milestone in the resurgence of the maker of the iPhone, which nearly went out of business in the 1990s.

Apple's shares rose 1 percent on Nasdaq on Wednesday, pushing its market value up to $225.1 billion and ahead of Microsoft's $222.7 billion, according to Reuters data. Apple shares were up 1 percent above $247 in late afternoon trading. Microsoft shares were down 2.2 percent to $25.50.

Shares of Apple are worth more than 10 times what they were 10 years ago, as it has profited from revolutionizing consumer electronics with its stylish, easy to use products such as the iPod, iPhone and MacBook laptops.

Microsoft, whose operating system runs on more than 90 percent of the world's PCs, has not been able to match growth rates of previous years. Its stock is down about 18 percent from 10 years ago.

Apple, which struggled for many years to get its products into the mainstream, resorted to a $150 million investment from the much larger Microsoft in 1997 in order to keep it afloat.

Cupertino, California-based Apple is now the second-largest company on the S&P 500 index by market value, behind energy behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N). (Reporting by Bill Rigby and Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Gary Hill)

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