So what if the Apple rally is over for the moment? Google (NAS: GOOG) is still going strong. The stock is up 13% over the past month and 17% year to date.

Apps and tablets could be driving the gains. This week, the Google Play store, which now hosts 675,000 apps and games, served its 25 billionth download. The search king celebrated with a massive $0.25 sale on apps from a number of well-known developers, including Electronic Arts (NAS: EA) and Angry Birds creator Rovio.

To be fair, Apple's iTunes Store passed the 25 billion downloads mark in March, only to reach 30 billion three months later. But what used to be a wide margin between the number of downloads served by Google's old Android Market and iTunes has thinned considerably in recent years, no doubt thanks in part to the popularity of Android handsets from HTC and Samsung, among others.


Source: Google.

Meanwhile, IDC has released new estimates that peg 2012 tablet sales at 117.1 million units. Android tablets are expected to account for 35.3% of that total versus 60% for the iPad and a respectable 4% for Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) forthcoming Windows tablets. By 2016, IDC expects Android to still hold more than 30% of the market -- not bad considering how poorly Google has been at seeding the tablet market to this point.

What's the big idea?
Google's impressive run helped the Big Idea Portfolio increase its lead marginally through Thursday's close, and that's despite a worse-than-4% pullback in Apple shares. For those unfamiliar with this weekly series, I'm going head-to-head with Mr. Market in a three-year showdown to see who's better at producing returns for investors. Here's where I stand as of this writing:

Company

Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return

Apple

$420.59**

$681.32

61.9%

Google

$650.09

$756.50

16.4%

Rackspace Hosting

$41.65

$65.96

58.4% 

Riverbed Technology (NAS: RVBD)

$25.95

$23.50

(9.4%) 

salesforce.com

$100.93

$153.18

51.8% 

Average Return

--

--

35.82% 

S&P 500 SPDR

$125.83**

$144.64

14.95% 

Difference

--

--

20.87

Source: Yahoo! Finance. *Tracking began at market close on Jan. 6, 2012. **Adjusted for dividends and other returns of capital.

Call it the occasional benefit of owning a growth portfolio at a time of broad decline for the indexes. The Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 led the laggards, down 2.71% and 2.52%, respectively, while the S&P fell 1.84% and the Dow declined 1.22%, according to data supplied by The Wall Street Journal.

Notable newsmakers
And yet it could have been worse. Thursday's action included a 0.96% gain for the S&P 500, snapping a five-day losing streak. Major indexes rallied when Spain officially released a budget that documents a laundry list of austerity measures.

China also lifted stocks. Speculators are betting that a move to inject $57.9 billion into money markets earlier this week foreshadows a new stimulus plan for the region, CNBC reported. Will it make a difference? For local companies, perhaps. Foreign competitors are still having a tough time. Just this week, Google announced plans to shut down a 3-year-old free music download service it had been offering to Chinese customers.

Here at home, Riverbed Technology rallied after a William Blair & Co. analyst upgraded the stock from market perform to outperform on the belief that its plan to diversify into a multi-product company is gaining needed traction.

Research In Motion (NAS: RIMM) needed no help reversing itself. Sort of, anyway. The stock soared more than 20% in after-hours trading on Thursday as the BlackBerry maker's adjusted net loss handily beat expectations. And that's in spite of a 31% drop in revenue, from $4.2 billion in last year's fiscal second quarter to $2.9 billion this time around.

How to profit from the iPhone 5
Can RIM keep Apple at bay in its attempts to return to profitability? The new iPhone won't make it easy, especially if customers prove to be patient with a handful of known hiccups in iOS 6.

Either way, you needn't own Apple to profit from the iPhone 5. Foolish colleague Evan Niu is out with new research on the device's most likely component suppliers. It's included as a free bonus to subscribers to the Fool's new Apple research report. Sign up today and you'll get the initial report plus the iPhone 5 bonus and a year's worth of free updates. Click here to get started now.

See you back here next weekend for more tech-stock talk. In the meantime, if you'd like to tell us more about a Breaker in the making you believe is either being unfairly maligned or ignored, please leave a comment in the space below.

The article The 1 Stock I'm Banking on Now originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple, Google, Rackspace Hosting, Riverbed Technology, and Salesforce at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Riverbed Technology. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Riverbed Technology, Rackspace Hosting, and Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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