On October 6, 1997, in response to the question of what he’d do if he was in charge of Apple Computer, Dell founder and then CEO Michael Dell stood before a crowd of several thousand IT executives and answered flippantly, “What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”

A little more than a month later, on November 10, 1997, new Apple iCEO Steve Jobs responded, speaking in front of an image of Michael Dell’s bulls-eye covered face, “We’re coming after you, you’re in our sights.”

On January 13, 2006, after a little more than eight years of hard work, Apple Computer, Inc. passed Dell, Inc. in market value, $72,132,428,843 vs. $71,970,702,760 at market close respectively. After trading places, Apple promptly fell behind Dell as shares of the Cupertino Mac maker were subject to a multi-week bear raid. Today, however, Apple’s share price continued its rise while Dell’s continued to slip. The result, once again, is that Apple Computer ($60,166,590,800) is now worth more than Dell ($60,061,881,440) in a race whose leadership is likely to oscillate a bit in the near term (before Apple pulls away for good).

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