Microsoft, on Thursday, briefly surpassed its tech rival Apple to become the world’s most valuable company, illustrating the contrast between a firm driven by artificial intelligence and another whose iPhone sales are a cause for concern.
According to reports, the value of the Windows operating system creator reached a market capitalization of nearly $2.9 trillion shortly after markets opened on Wall Street, slightly higher than Apple.
Microsoft only held the top spot for a few seconds before falling back to second, but it demonstrates how the surge in interest in AI has reshaped investors’ enthusiasm for the two companies.
The Redmond, Washington-based group has been riding high due in large part to its partnership with OpenAI, the creator of the generative AI interface ChatGPT, in which it controls almost half the capital.
Since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, Microsoft shares have gained almost 75 percent. Over the same period, Apple has had to make do with a more modest—yet still impressive—35 percent rise.
Following the release of ChatGPT, Microsoft has released a number of products that let companies and consumers take advantage of generative AI capabilities. These products include the Bing search engine and the Copilot virtual assistant.
Apple, for its part, has been penalized by market concerns about its ability to maintain the unbridled growth it has posted for decades.
Earlier this month, an analyst at Barclays lowered their outlook for the stock, citing concerns about a slowdown in iPhone 15 sales, particularly in China, which is a major market for Apple.
On Wednesday, analysts at Redburn Atlantic revised their opinion to “neutral” from “buy” on concerns about the prospect of limited growth in the coming years and mixed results for the current quarter.
Since January 2022, Apple’s market capitalisation has on several occasions surpassed the symbolic threshold of three trillion dollars.
However, the group regularly carries out massive share buybacks and cancels shares once they are in its possession, which mechanically reduces the number of shares in circulation and lowers its market capitalisation.