Microsoft reclaimed its position as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company on Friday, surpassing Apple at the market close. This marked a shift in their ongoing competition, as Microsoft previously held the top spot in market cap a decade ago and in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Despite a brief reign last year, Microsoft’s market cap reached $2.89 trillion with a 3% increase in shares, while Apple experienced a 3% drop, bringing its valuation to $2.87 trillion. In mid-December, Apple’s value had reached $3.07 trillion.
The fluctuation in top company status highlights the transient nature of success, exemplified by previous leaders like Exxon Mobil and General Electric. IBM and PetroChina also held the title in 1980 and 2010, respectively.
CNBC reported that Apple’s value was impacted by Redburn Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell downgrading the company due to limited growth prospects in iPhone sales and an anticipated underwhelming March quarter. On the other hand, Microsoft received a vote of confidence, with Piper Sandler analysts expressing encouragement about its mature AI products and noting increased GitHub website traffic.
It’s important to note that the exact number of Apple shares in circulation will be confirmed with the release of the December quarterly report on February 1, potentially influencing its standing if the ongoing buyback significantly reduced the number of shares.