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 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.

May 01, 2008, APple’s market value quadrupled that of Dell’s, $158.66 billion vs. $38.97 billion, respectively.

Today in NASDAQ trading, Apple rose $2.60 to hit a market value of $88.37 billion or 5 times that of Dell’s current 17.52 billion.

Apple is also a debt-free company and currently has significantly more cash on-hand, $28.8 billion, than Dell is worth.

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

AAPL and DELL quotes via NASDAQ are here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Warren” for the heads up.]