December 20, 2010 -- Among large-cap tech vendors, the biggest winners of 2010 by market capitalization growth came from five different areas of the IT-related landscape: a chip company, a software-as-service provider, a virtualization specialist, an integration provider and a commercial open source vendor.

By name, they are ARM Holdings (130.58 percent growth), Salesforce (127.47 percent ), VMware (113.98 percent), Informatica (86.9 percent ) and Red Hat (71.95 percent ).

The list was compiled by analyst Robin Bloor, who limited his study to companies with market cap of $5 billion or greater. Analysts agree that it’s usually much more difficult to grow large established businesses as quickly as smaller companies can be grown.

“It’s quite a different finding than you’d have found in previous years when big winners were more commonly connected to a single hot trend,” says Bloor. “In the days for instance when Microsoft and Intel and Compaq shares were going wild, they would have been big winners and they were all related to the same thing, PCs.”

In this case, best performers still identified with visible trends, even if the companies on Bloor’s list are not all household names.

The chip operations of British producer ARM Holdings populate smart phones and iPads, representing the strong to huge growth of mobility computing for individuals and corporations.

Salesforce is a hosted multitenant portfolio of CRM-related applications and services related to the uptake of cloud computing.

VMware is the market share leader in the virtualization space, where everything from data centers to laptops are being leveraged to maximize and unite computing power while shrinking its footprint.

Informatica’s success can be related to the challenge of mastering silos of enterprise information and the need to generate federated or unified feeds of data; and Red Hat is the shining star of the commercial open-source software world.  

The collection reflects both hot spots and individual company rebounds in the current technology cycle. Starting with the calendar year was arbitrary in a way Bloor concedes. "If you really wanted to do a baseline comparison of things you would probably take it from the low of the crash in 2008. Then you’d have a better baseline, though year-to-date is a popular measurement people like to look at.”