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10 Hot Techs That Aren't Apple or Google

Editor's Note: Jon D. Markman writes a weekly column for CNBC on MSN Money that is republished here on

Like generals, most investors are always fighting the last war. Failing to really see what is happening right before their eyes, they reach into the past for comparisons and analogies that look just close enough to be true -- but aren't.

This year, as the Nasdaq Composite has jumped 5% in two weeks, much of the talk has been about consumer electronics and Web advertising -- in part because of their success in 2005 and their starring roles at two much-hyped trade shows. If you didn't know any better, you'd think that the only technology stocks worth owning were Google (GOOG - Get Report) and Apple Computer (AAPL - Get Report).

Yet there's a lot more to the strong market this year than the "Goople twins." Out of the 200 stocks that have risen the most so far in 2006, Google is not among them, and Apple is only the 198th best, albeit with a very nice 19% gain.

So what other tech stocks are banging the top of the charts? And does it make sense to jump in after the unexpected rally?

The answer to the latter is yes, so long as you take those white earbuds off your head, stop searching and begin looking at some neglected names that are starting to find favor again. It seems that investors are warming to the idea that the convergence between consumer and enterprise electronics is finally at hand, spurring a new wave of earnings growth and multiple expansion at companies that persevered through the dead zone of the past five years.

Hardware's Restoration

One of the red-hot areas this year, just like, well, 1997, is hard-disk storage of all types -- in personal computers and MP3 players, and on networks. Seagate Technology (STX - Get Report) put the exclamation point on this idea in late December by buying industry rival Maxtor at a big premium.
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