Microsoft briefly tops Apple as most valuable public company

Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.


Microsoft on Thursday briefly yanked the title of most valuable publicly traded company from Apple in early trading. But Apple returned to the top spot at market close.

The development follows a series of obstacles Apple has encountered at the start of the year.

Last week, Foxconn, a Chinese assembler of Apple’s iPhones, reported a year-over-year revenue decline, and The New York Times said the U.S. Department of Justice was working on an antitrust case against Apple that could come later this year. In addition, Barclays and Piper Sandler both downgraded the stock.

Also last week, Microsoft said device makers will soon introduce Windows PCs with a Copilot key on their keyboards for fast access to the software maker’s artificial intelligence assistant.

In 2023, Microsoft shares rose 57%, partly as investors became hopeful that the software maker would be able to expand by selling AI services to businesses. During that same period, Apple stock gained 48%.

Microsoft also stole from Apple the bragging rights for most valuable public company in 2018 and in 2021. But two years ago, Apple became the first company to exceed $3 trillion in market capitalization. Oil and gas production company Saudi Aramco briefly controlled the title before Apple took it back. It held on for a year and a half.

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