Microsoft beats Apple as the World’s Most Valuable Firm

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In a brief but significant moment, Microsoft temporarily claimed the title of the world’s most valuable company, surpassing Apple, as its ventures into generative AI drove up its stock prices. Microsoft’s shares surged by up to 2% on Thursday, pushing its market valuation to $2.903 trillion, while Apple’s market cap declined to $2.871 trillion, marking the first time since 2021 that Microsoft’s value exceeded Apple’s.

However, by Thursday afternoon, Apple had reclaimed its top position with Microsoft’s valuation settling at $2.849 trillion. Microsoft’s stock rally followed the announcement that its third-quarter revenue had grown by 7% to $52.9 billion, surpassing analysts’ expectations. The integration of AI technology into its cloud computing business was a major driver of these gains, according to the company’s financial statement.

Microsoft’s intensified focus on AI began in 2023 with a notable $10 billion investment in OpenAI, led by Sam Altman, the startup responsible for ChatGPT. This move played a crucial role in Microsoft’s stock surge.

While Apple had become the first U.S. company to reach a $3 trillion market value in 2022, recent challenges, particularly a decline in iPhone sales, have impacted its stock price. Apple’s stock fell below the $3 trillion milestone, and it faces competition from tech giants like Microsoft, which have experienced significant stock surges fuelled by AI initiatives.

The broader tech landscape reflects a trend where companies like Google, Amazon, and Meta have boosted their stock values by announcing AI-related plans. According to Wall Street Zen, companies mentioning AI experienced an average stock price increase of 4.6%, compared to a 2.4% increase for those not involved in AI. This underscores the growing influence of AI in shaping market perceptions and driving stock performance across the tech industry.