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Samsung Overtakes HP as the World's Largest Tech Firm

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has lost its crown as the world's largest tech company based on revenue. Samsung posted 2009 sales of $117 billion, about $3 billion more than HP for the last fiscal year. According to the Financial Times, Samsung "is expected to surpass its US rival again this year – its 2010 sales are forecast at $127bn, compared with $120bn from HP."Samsung won the top spot due to improvements in LCD sales and growth in demand for memory chips. Its move into first place among global tech firms is all the more impressive because some of HP's growth came from its acquisition of EDS, the information-technology consulting firm.

Of course, first place in an industry can have its disadvantages. Three years ago, GM was the No.1 car company in the world; last year it filed for Chapter 11. Toyota (TM) took the top spot among auto firms and is now under tremendous pressure to fix gas pedal problems on nearly 8 million cars worldwide.

But for Samsung, so far so good, though it has had quality problems of its own, such as last year's recall of a small number of cellphones that might fail to complete "911" calls.

Making it to the top of an industry is good for bragging rights and boosts morale -- until there's a problem. And those almost always hit without warning.

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