Apple is Officially the New Microsoft

Cupertino company's value in the market now larger than Redmond competitor

"It's better to be a pirate than in the Navy," a creepy-eyed Apple CEO Steve Jobs, played by Noah Wylie, tells Bill Gates, played by Anthony Michael Hall, in "Pirates of Silicon Valley," the movie ode to the rivalry between Apple and Microsoft.

Today, Apple's market capitalization -- the value of all shares multiplied by the price of those shares -- actually topped that of Microsoft.

So who's the navy and who are the pirates now?

Apple's computers still have minuscule market share, but it has become dominant in mobile consumer electronics with the iPod and iPhone, with even Google, which holds a near-monopoly in web search, seeing its Android mobile operating system as an attempt to stave off "a draconian future" of Apple's -- and Jobs's -- dominance.

It doesn't help that Apple's operations in China have taken a nasty turn, with eleven suicides this year at supplier Foxconn. Apple packaging makes a point of saying "Designed in California," but the smaller-type "Made in China" has come to cost the company's image -- Foxconn is now requiring employees to sign a pledge not to kill themselves.

And regulators have been knocking on Apple's doors more and more, following up antitrust complaints. The latest investigation is in to whether Apple told music labels that they would be punished if they participated in a discount promotion on MP3s sold through Amazon's online store -- no small threat, as the iTunes Music Store is the largest of its kind in the market.

It's gotten so bad that even the guy who writes the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, Newsweek technology columnist Dan Lyons, is switching from the iPhone to a phone running Google's Android software.

To millions of Apple fanboys and fangirls, the company and its secretive CEO can do no wrong. But everyone else is starting to get a little worried.

Jackson West grew up loving the Apple Macintosh in a Microsoft family.

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