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Microsoft briefly edged out Apple as the most valuable company in the US

Credit: Microsoft

Last updated

In intraday trading on Thursday, Apple was usurped as the most valuable company in the US for about two hours, with Microsoft temporarily taking the crown more than two years after the last time it happened.

The cross-over happened at about 9:50 AM ET, shortly after the market opened, and reversed itself around 11:10 AM ET. Apple has been hit by a few downgrades to its stock in the last few days, and Microsoft has seen the opposite.

Trading has been slightly above-average overall on Thursday, with the NASDQ down by about a half-percent. Apple's stock has been hit by about $3 a share for losses today. Microsoft stock is down now, after briefly being up from Wednesday's close.

In August 2020, Apple became the first publicly-traded US company to reach a $2 trillion market cap, and Microsoft became the second one in June 2021.

Later in October 2021, Microsoft took over the top spot, and for a few months was more valuable than Apple by $100 billion.

Microsoft's stock rose 57% in 2023, compared to Apple's which rose 48%. Microsoft shares have also seen slimmer losses at the start of 2024.

Apple, ohas seen its shares take a considerable drop in recent days. The first hit was taken following a claim by Barclays that iPhone demand is weakening and that the iPhone 16 range will not offer any compelling new features to tempt upgraders.

The analyst view that Apple is dependent on iPhone sales is part of why Microsoft is doing better. Analysts see Microsoft has being less attached to any hardware, and more attached to subscription software such as Office 365, and so therefore less attached to any falling demand for phones or computers.

And, Microsoft has launched an AI tool in Copilot, while Apple has not unveiled any similar ChatGPT-style app or service. Analysts appear to be ignoring that Apple has been using AI for many years, under the name Machine Learning, though, and also that it is never first to a market, even ones that it later comes to dominate.

Update January 11, 11:36: Updated with Apple going back into the lead.