Dell

Seventeen years after its simple beginning in a dormitory room here, and the audacious claim of its founder that he intended to "take on IBM", customers have made Dell the world's leading computer-systems company.

Dell, which passed IBM in terms of global market share two years ago, ranked No.1 in the first quarter of this year, according to industry analysts. The period is the first in which Dell earned the leading position on a global basis. The company has been atop the U.S. market, the world's largest, for the last eight quarters.

Michael Dell, who started the company as a student at the University of Texas in 1984, said Dell's methodical climb to market leadership is the product of a persistent focus on delivering the best possible customer experience by directly selling computing products and services based on industry-standard technology.