While Microsoft’s prospects looked bleak a few years ago, it is finally surpassing Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, the Associated Press reports.
Earlier this decade, Apple had “been the world’s most prosperous firm” after claiming first place from Exxon Mobile. However, earlier this month, Microsoft’s market value weighed in at $851 billion to Apple’s $847 billion, reaching first place “since the height of the dotcom boom in 2000.”
For end users and decision makers following each company, or deciphering which company’s products to invest in, here’s how Microsoft came out on top:
- Stock market – According to the Associated Press, one of the main reasons why Microsoft snatched first place is because Apple’s stock fell almost 20 percent in November. Microsoft, meanwhile, “hasn’t done any worse” in the stock market. “The fact that it hasn’t done poorly is a reflection of its steady focus on business customers in recent years,” the Associated Press says.
- Promoting Satya Nadella as CEO – Back in 2014, Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft. The Associated Press says that Ballmer “initially scoffed at the notion that people would be willing to pay $500 or more for Apple’s iPhones.” Nadella, however, bet on business-oriented services, like Office for email, to replace consumers’ dwindling interest and investment in PCs, and increased investment in handheld smart phones. Thus far, that bet has paid off.
- Azure – The Associated Press says that Microsoft’s biggest growth occurred in the cloud, particularly with a product called Azure. Azure is a customizable cloud platform that businesses can use and adjust based on its needs. While there’s still room for the solution to grow, it “now accounts for more than a quarter of Microsoft’s revenue, and Microsoft rivals Amazon as a leading provider of such services.”
- Independent of consumer demand – The Associate Press says that Microsoft’s being less reliant on consumer demand has helped the software company dodge “holiday season turbulence,” and the trade war conflicts between the U.S. and China. Apple, meanwhile, might be hit hard here, especially as tariffs are placed on products imported from China, including laptops and iPhones.
Apple “had already seen its stock fall after reporting a mixed bag of quarterly results in early November amid fears about how the technology industry will fare in the face of such threats as rising interest rates, increased government regulation and Trump’s escalating trade war with China,” the Associated Press says.