Feb 01, 2024 485

Microsoft hits $3 trillion market value, second to Apple


Microsoft's (MSFT.O), opens new tab stock market value crossed the $3 trillion milestone for the first time on Wednesday, retaining its place as the world's second most valuable company, just behind Apple (AAPL.O)

Microsoft's stock market value surpassed the $3 trillion mark for the first time, solidifying its position as the world's second most valuable company, just behind Apple. The competition between Microsoft and Apple for the top spot has been ongoing since the beginning of the year, with Microsoft briefly overtaking Apple earlier in January. Despite hitting a record high of $405.63, Microsoft closed slightly below the $3 trillion threshold at $402.56, while Apple's shares closed down at $194.50, maintaining its $3 trillion market value.

Fueled by investments in artificial intelligence (AI), particularly through its partnership with OpenAI, Microsoft is considered a frontrunner in the race for market dominance in generative AI technology. This positions Microsoft alongside tech giants like Google, Amazon, Oracle, and Meta Platforms in the development and deployment of AI innovations. Leveraging OpenAI's technology, Microsoft has enhanced its flagship productivity software products and Bing search engine to better compete with Google's offerings.

On the other hand, Apple faces challenges such as slowing iPhone demand, especially in China, where it's resorting to discounts to stimulate sales amidst competition from local rivals like Huawei. Analysts attribute Microsoft's success to its AI initiatives, contrasting it with Apple's perceived lack of a clear AI strategy and concerns over iPhone sales growth. Analysts covering Microsoft's stock have a median price target of $425, reflecting optimism in the company's future prospects.

Microsoft's stock saw a significant surge of nearly 57% in 2023, with a further 7% increase this year, driven by enthusiasm surrounding its AI endeavors. In comparison, Apple's stock rose by 48% last year, with minimal growth year-to-date. As megacap U.S. tech companies gear up to report their earnings, Wall Street awaits to see if the market's bullish trend will persist amidst evolving industry dynamics and competitive landscapes.