Leading up to WWDC, Apple now worth more than Microsoft + Intel

As Apple prepares to announce its latest product innovations at WWDC 2011, the company closed the week with a market cap than now exceeds Microsoft and Intel combined.

When historians look back at this past decade in the technology revolution, I wonder if the story of Apple's comeback will look and feel and surreal as it does to those of us who have lived through it? Probably not.

As Apple prepares to announce its next series of innovations at its World Wide Developers Conference on Monday (TechRepublic will provide live commentary), the company closed the week on the NASDAQ with a stock price of $343.38, which means the public values the company at $317.6 billion (what Wall Street calls "market capitalization" or "market cap").

Meanwhile, Microsoft finished the week with a market cap of $201.59 billion and Intel closed at $115.21 billion. You know where I'm going with this. The combined market value of Microsoft and Intel = $316.8 billion. Apple is now worth more than Wintel.

Obviously, that's significant since, during the 1990s, the Microsoft Windows + Intel combo nearly drove Apple out of business. MacDailyNews, which first pointed out this development on Friday when the market closed, dug up this quote from June 1998 from Bill Gates: "What I can't figure out is why he [Steve Jobs] is even trying [to be the CEO of Apple]. He knows he can't win."

While Apple is riding high from a string of product hits, Microsoft continues to struggle to redefine itself in technology world that is expanding far beyond the traditional PC.

Of course, Intel is now a close partner of Apple's in the Macintosh division. But, don't be surprised if Apple's market cap victory over Wintel shows up in Jobs' slide show at WWDC on Monday. Jobs loves to gloat and to poke fun his rivals -- none more than Microsoft.

This was originally published on TechRepublic.