Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Victor Vasnetsov. Via Wikipedia

Oh, how the technology landscape has changed.  Ten years ago, the industry was dominated by names such as Microsoft, Intel, Dell and Cisco.

And while those companies certainly haven’t gone away, there’s a new breed that’s making its mark.

Fast forward to 2012, and the makeup looks quite different. CNN recently surveyed 30 technology experts and thousands of readers to come up with what it dubbed the Four Horsemen of tech. While the names are certainly familiar, the list couldn’t be much different from 10 years ago. Respondents were asked to choose only from publicly-traded companies, so Facebook didn’t make an appearance.

Who made the cut?

Apple easily was the top vote getter, followed by Google, and — an oldie, but a goodie — IBM.

IBM, Apple and Amazon certainly could qualify as comeback stories, while Google has yet to really be tested in terms of its market dominance in Internet search. (Possibly signaling a fall).

Nonetheless, what’s fascinating is how Microsoft no longer makes the cut. (In reader polling, IBM edged out Microsoft with 67 percent of the vote). Microsoft is still a juggernaut, but as CNN’s editors point out “the PC is no longer driving technology growth.”

Microsoft — which has lost 18 percent of its value over the past 10 years — has struggled to move into the tablet, cloud and mobile markets. It still has a pile of cash and a $235 billion market value, bigger than the other three “horsemen.” (At one point last year, IBM topped Microsoft in value, but the software giant has reclaimed the title of second biggest tech company).

Nonethless, at the WTIA predictions panel that I moderated a few months ago one expert forecast that Amazon would surpass Microsoft in market value in the next five years. Ouch…

Here’s the bracket that CNN put together. Which company do you think has the best chance of becoming the top horseman in tech?

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  • Anonymous

    what about twitter / facebook?

    • Peter W

      Only public companies

  • Bill Schrier

    This is very artificial in so many ways.   Only 30 “experts” were interviewed or polled, which means each of them has 3.33% of a vote.   And who chose the experts?   Plus, why not “seven horsemen of tech” as opposed to just four?   Many of these companies are competing in multiple spaces.   I don’t see the value in the analysis.    Just doesn’t seem like this is worthy of a headline on CNN or anywhere else.   

  • Peter McC

    And a ‘one-and-done championship’ system is pretty stupid in this case. What if you, personally, thought that the four top ones were Amazon, eBay, Nuance, and Salesforce? (I don’t know why you’d think that, but you might.) That vote isn’t an option, is it?

  • kadeeirene

    Was anyone else surprised by IBM? 

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Amazon, Google, Apple, and IBM for winning the tech war!

    • BennyK

      winning the tech war is about net profits not surveys. with the exception of AAPL no tech company comes close to MSFT

      • kozmcrae

        So is it about those profits getting smaller or bigger…?

  • Guest

    “We love our strategy. The board loves our strategy”

    – Steve Ballmer

  • Guest

    “We love our strategy. The board loves our strategy”

    – Steve Ballmer

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