For the first time in eight years, Apple yesterday gave up its crown as the world’s most valuable company on the trading desks.
This came after several weeks’ decline in the tech monolith’s shares, which has removed about $US300 billion ($AU415 billion) in “market capitalisation” from the company, which peaked at a record $US1.1 trillion in early October.
While Apple’s shares dropped to $812.60 billion, Microsoft’s (briefly) surged to a valuation of $812.93 billion, making Bill Gates the founder of the world’s most valuable company, even if it was only for a couple of minutes.
“Apple’s market cap hovered around $US828.7 billion as of 5:15 p.m. in New York, while Microsoft’s stood at $US817.3 billion, although the two spent much of Monday afternoon jockeying for the top seat in intraday action. Shares of Apple rose 0.9 per cent, erasing an earlier decline, while Microsoft climbed 3.2 per cent,” (Sydney Morning Herald).
This is the first time since 2013 (when Apple outgrew Exxon Mobil) that any company has topped the late Steve Jobs’ brainchild (Microsoft and Apple are now trading back and forth for the title).
Apple and Microsoft, founded within a year of each other in the mid 1970’s, have been competing in the same IT space for over 40 years.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, “Microsoft dominated in the dot-com era but subsequently lost ground as the Cupertino, California-based Apple launched such iconic products as the iPod and especially the iPhone, which would grow to become its most important product line.”
“Yet now, that very product is among the (main) challenges facing Apple, with concerns over weak iPhone demand pressuring shares to fall more than 25 per cent from record levels.”
However, as the SMH continued, “Microsoft isn’t immune to weakness in the technology sector (either).” Although it hasn’t been affected as badly, it has still fallen, “About 8 percent from its own all-time high in October as investors take to its enterprise-oriented business, as well as the success of its cloud-computing division.”
As reported by The Verge, “Microsoft failed spectacularly in the mobile era with its Windows Phone efforts, but the company has shown it’s resilient.”
“Microsoft is now focused on cross-platform technologies, the cloud, artificial intelligence, and is aiming to secure the future of quantum computing and mixed reality computing.”
Meanwhile, analysts expect Apple to transition to a business model based more on services than unit sales, which could either see it soar ahead again—or dethrone it from its ‘top dog’ status in an even more dramatic fashion.