Microsoft beats Apple for biggest market value

Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder

Microsoft has unseated Apple to rank as the world’s most valuable listed company, reclaiming the number one spot after more than 15 years.

The software giant has a market value of more than US$851billion (£668 billion) compared with Apple’s US$847 billion.

The two firms have been vying for top place all week, with Apple remaining ahead at the end of each trading day.

But the iPhone maker, which has seen its share price plunge in recent weeks, finally lost its lead.

Microsoft shares gained more than 0.6 percent to close at US$110.89, while Apple shares finished at US$178.60, down about 0.5 percent.

Apple’s shares have fallen almost 25 percent since October 2018- more steeply than the market overall – amid concerns about slowing smart phone demand and the possibility of additional US tariffs on Chinese-made goods.

The sell-off has erased more than US$200 billion from the firm’s market value, which is calculated by multiplying the share price by the number of traded shares cited in the firms’ most recent quarterly reports.

By many measures – including annual revenue and profit – Apple remains the bigger company. For now, however, investors are betting that Microsoft’s prospects are brighter.

The firm’s cloud services unit, which sells to other businesses, has driven the firm’s growth in recent years.

Apple, by contrast, depends on consumer spending, which investors are worried could slow.

Daniel Ives, Managing Director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, said Microsoft is poised for significant growth, as more companies sign up for the firm’s cloud products.

Microsoft boss Satya Nadella is well-positioned to “further transform [Microsoft] into a cloud behemoth over the coming years,” he wrote in a research note.