Welcome to week 5 of my stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers:


Starting Price

Recent Price

Total Return





Harris & Harris (NASDAQ:TINY)












Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM)
















Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Ouch. The Wall Street Panic of 2008 has kicked my tech portfolio where it hurts. The good news? We Motley Fool Rule Breakers investors have seen this sort of carnage before.

Patience paid then and it'll pay now, because it's durable gains that matter most -- like when Fool co-founder David Gardner produced a decade of 20% returns by buying and holding the likes of Amazon.com and eBay in the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio, or when Fool co-founder Tom Gardner selected a "simpleton portfolio" to hold for a decade, with market-crushing results. I think these five tech stocks will produce plenty of durable gains. (They'd better. Combined, Akamai, Harris & Harris, IBM, Oracle, and Taiwan Semiconductor account for roughly one-quarter of our portfolio's current value.)

This week's checkup
If there's one thing I've learned in a decade of investing, it's that those who pursue long-term returns do best when they closely watch the companies they commit capital to. It's with that spirit in mind that we check in weekly with my top techies. This week's update:

  • IBM is winning the server war, outgaining price-cutter Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) in the quest for market share. I'm biased, of course, but I believe this is the result of Big Blue successfully linking software and services with its server lineup.
  • Oracle acquired ClearApp, a start-up that specializes in managing the tangled code behind service-oriented architectures. The database king also regained top technologist Richard Sarwal from VMware (NYSE:VMW), nine months after his leaving for the virtualization pioneer.

There's your checkup. See you back here next week for more tech-stock talk.

Get your clicks with related Foolishness:

Amazon and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Akamai, VMware, and Harris & Harris are Rule Breakers recommendations. Dell is an Inside Value pick. Try any of these market-beating services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 19,202 out of more than 115,000 participants in CAPS, also writes for Rule Breakers. Tim had positions in Akamai, Harris & Harris, IBM, Oracle, and Taiwan Semiconductor at the time of publication. The Motley Fool owns shares of S&P 500 depository receipts and has a tech-tastic disclosure policy.