Chart: 2010's Best Performing Tech Companies

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2010 wasn't a great year for the economy, which puttered along like a zombie from the Walking Dead. But some companies delivered some notably strong performances, and the technology-heavy NASDAQ stock exchange was up more than 16% over the course of the year. Here we take a look at a basket of of the biggest technology companies in the world.

The biggest surprise to me? Yahoo's shares outperformed Google's on the year. That's wild. The other (mildly) unexpected fact: the highest-flying stock we looked at wasn't Apple, but the Chinese company Baidu, which more than doubled Apple's share price growth.

That said, we can't sell Apple short (hah). They managed to launch a great new product (the iPad), keep momentum with the iPhone, and delivered massive growth for a company that's already one of the most valuable in the world.

On the losing side, Nokia, HP, and Adobe had the toughest years, each dropping more than 15 percent on the year.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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