Apple has surpassed Microsoft as the largest technology company in the world by market capitalization.
Apple's move comes as the company's iPhone, and now its iPad tablet computer, take on more of the personal computing tasks once handled by computers running Microsoft programs.
Market cap is the dollar value of a company's outstanding shares. During afternoon trading Wednesday, Apple Inc.'s shares rose to $248.47, pushing its market cap up to about $226 billion.
Microsoft Corp.'s stock slipped to $25.49, for market cap of about $223 billion.
The only U.S. business with a higher market value is Exxon Mobile Corp. The oil company's market cap is about $281 billion.