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 Interim CEO (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 Inc. passed Dell, Inc. in market value, $72.13 billion vs. $71.97 billion at market close, respectively.

On July 27, 2007, Apple’s value doubled that of Dell’s, $127.81 billion vs. $63.65 billion, respectively.

On December 6, 2007, Apple’s market value passed 3 times that of Dell’s, $165.66 billion vs. $54.42 billion, respectively.

Today in NASDAQ trading, Apple rose $6.05, or 3.48%, to close at $180.00 and the company’s market value passed 4 times that of Dell’s, $158.66 billion vs. $38.97 billion.

Got any snappy retorts now, Mr. Dell? What’s that, cat got your tongue?

AAPL and DELL quotes via NASDAQ are here.