Take to the skies
The PC era isn't dead quite yet -- but it's getting there. These days the idea of centering your tech needs on a desktop computer with all your data and software stored there sounds about as up to date as relying on a rotary telephone. The advent of mobile devices -- from BlackBerrys to Droids to iPads -- combined with the increasing prevalence of data storage in "the cloud" (i.e., in web-connected servers rather than on your computer) is all part of a trend that would have seemed unthinkable 20 years ago. Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can now tap in, whether it's New York bankers accessing loan data in California or app-happy Florida teens posting photos to be stored in North Carolina server farms. "It's an architectural change in the way computing is done and the way data is delivered to end users," says Mike Lippert, manager of the Baron Opportunity Fund. "From an investing standpoint, it's a theme that could take 30 years to play out."



All prices as of 5/16/11. All price/earnings ratios are based on consensus analyst estimates for earnings over the next 12 months (the equivalent figure for the S&P 500 is 14.2).
Last updated May 26 2011: 6:47 AM ET

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