Apple is slowly pulling ahead of PC manufacturing giant Dell in terms of company value.

While Dell and other Windows box manufacturers deal with the impact of the delay of Microsoft's forthcoming Vista operating system, Apple's new range of XP-friendly Intel-powered Macs (with Boot Camp) continues to attract attention.

To boost attention even further, Apple has launched a new campaign to urge Windows users to 'go Mac'.

Meanwhile the two companies' respective stock prices ($71.62 a share for Apple and $25.43 for Dell) reveal that Apple is - at least for now - the more valuable company. Dell's market value is $ 59,850,064,460, while Apple right now is worth $ 60,777,591,440.

While the value of shares can fall as well as rise, the figures confirm the value of Apple's slowly growing marketshare.

There's a background to this rivalry. October 6, 1997, saw Dell CEO Michael Dell urge Steve Jobs (who had just returned to Apple as its interim CEO) to close Apple and to give its shareholders their money back.

This drew an aggressive response from Jobs, who warned Dell that Apple was "coming after you".

Apple drew ahead of Dell in market value for the first time on January 13, 2006. While the battle isn't yet cut and dried, this news does mean that Apple isn't a niche player any more.