The iPhone and iPad really paid off. Just last year, Apple’s market cap was $208 billion, but now it stands at $330 billion, over $100 billion dollars higher. In contrast, Microsoft’s market cap last year was $261 billion. Apple passed it in May, when both companies were capped at $227 billion. Since then Microsoft’s value increased $1 billion, which is pretty impressive, but that still leaves it a ways behind Apple. In fact, Microsoft is so far behind now that Apple is practically worth Microsoft plus HP (with a market cap of a measly $105 billion).

So is Microsoft destined to play second fiddle to Apple in the long run? Maybe not. Google just passed the $200 billion mark too, while IBM just passed $202 billion, and both companies have seen some very impressive quarters recently. While they seem to be competing against each other, the race to the top could leave Microsoft in the dust, or rather, in the not so coveted fourth place.

And then there is Facebook, which is far behind the pack. Though Mark Zuckerberg recently said that he envisions his site becoming the world’s first $1 trillion company, he still has a long way to go. He’s in the right direction though. The company is valued at $50 billion … scratch that, $52 billion, now that Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers just picked up a little piece of it, for a meager $38 million. It may still be running far behind, but it’s a competitor to watch, and it hasn’t even released an IPO yet.

And what’s next for Apple, now that it’s at the top of tech world? Possibly Exxon, the world’s largest company. It is now capped at $422 billion and its stock is rising steadily. Still, if Apple puts together another few quarters like it did this past year, it could potentially pass Exxon within a year or so.

Read More at Tech Crunch.
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