Microsoft overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable company after the iPhone maker began in 2024 with its worst start in years due to growing demand concerns.
Shares of Microsoft rose 1.5% in early trading hours on Thursday, giving the company founded by Bill Gates a market cap of $2.88 trillion.
The Redmond, Wash.-based company’s surge has been attributed to its early lead in the generative artificial intelligence race, including its $1 billion investment in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI in 2019.
Microsoft recently amped up its bet on the Sam Altman-run AI company, committing an additional $10 billion as part of a “multiyear” agreement.
Apple’s market cap, meanwhile, dipped to $2.86 trillion after the stock fell another 1% Thursday — bringing it down from the $3.081 trillion valuation it enjoyed at its peak on Dec. 14, 2023.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company had closed out the year with an annual gain of 48%.
The advance was lower than the 57% rise posted by Microsoft, which has aggressively rolled out AI-powered tools over the past year, including its most recent Copilot chatbot, previously known as Microsoft’s Bing Chat.
Microsoft has briefly taken the lead over Apple as the most valuable company a handful of times since 2018, most recently in 2021 when concerns about COVID-driven supply chain shortages hit the iPhone maker’s stock price.
Currently, Wall Street is more positive on Microsoft.
The company has no “sell” rating and nearly 90% of the brokerages covering the company recommend buying the stock.
Apple has two “sell” ratings and only two-thirds of the analysts covering the company rate it a “buy.”
Both the stocks look relatively expensive in terms of price to their expected earnings, a common method of valuing publicly listed companies.
Apple is trading at a forward PE of 28, well above its average of 19 over the past 10 years, according to LSEG data.
Microsoft is trading around 31 times forward earnings, above its 10-year average of 24.
With Post wires