HTC reached a milestone on Wednesday as it passed Nokia in market capitalization. Its total share value reached $33.8 billion, passing Nokia's $32.84 billion. The Taiwan phone maker had already passed RIM's $28.5 billion.
The achievement is notable for occurring in just a few years and almost all of it within the past two. Much of HTC's early history was spent making phones that were either completely rebadged for a carrier or were using Windows Mobile and usually relegated to slow sales. Its transition to Android quickly saw it surge in popularity to where it's now the fifth largest smartphone maker, having toppled veterans Motorola and Sony Ericsson.
Nokia's relatively stagnant share has been hurt by its overdependence on Symbian and relative slowness to change to meet competition from Android or iPhones. Its decision to transition over to Windows Phone has been considered a gamble but possibly a necessary one to generate interest amid rapidly shrinking market share and influence.
HTC is still significantly smaller than Apple both in device share and in market cap. As of Tuesday, Apple's market cap was about $312 billion, supported mostly by expectations surrounding its phone share but increasingly helped by the iPad and confidence in growing Mac share.