Palmisano pushes IBM market share past Microsoft -

IBM has soared to unfathomable heights, racing past Microsoft in market valuation. It's the first time that has happened since 1996.

Thanks to a consistent restructuring and focus on services and software, among plenty of other market factors, IBM shares have increased 34 percent over a year, compared to Microsoft's 3.9 percent, reports the Wall Street Journal

The WSJ puts IBM's success partially down to doing the exact thing HP is getting flak for, dumping the PC business.

Apple still tops the market list, sitting at an enormous $362 billion market worth. Empires fall, but for now the cult of Cupertino is at the top.

A Forrester analyst tells Bloomberg that IBM did right to predict a shift away from the personal computer. It's evident in the mobile boom we're seeing, analysts claim, and that the computer industry is undergoing a major change. While that is true in some segments, emerging markets really are propping up massive sales for cheaper PCs and mini-notes.

The common train of thought for Microsoft is that Ballmer has been annoying his investors and that the company has stopped innovating. Microsoft is an easy target to make the bad guy, but Windows 8 is coming out soon and we are likely to see things pick up then. Third place behind Apple and then IBM will sting but it is still a huge company.

Microsoft's problem, analysts agree, is that it was late to the party on the mobile market and now it will really have to claw its way to the top - a notion skeptics think impossible. Still, as long as Android sells, it'll keep drawing in the royalty cheques.