By MG Siegler
It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t even a year ago when I wrote the following post: What Happens When Apple Passes Microsoft In Value? Yes, When. It’s even harder to believe just how many people thought I was crazy for saying that — it happened just two months later! And while plenty seemed to think that the passing of the torch to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the most valuable tech company would be short-lived, let’s look at where we are today. As of market close this afternoon, Apple is now a full $100 billion past Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
Yes, Apple is the most valuable tech company in the world by $100 billion dollars. To put that in some perspective: the market cap of HP (NYSE:HPQ) is $105 billion. Apple is now worth an HP more than every other tech company.
When I wrote the initial post last March, Apple’s market cap was at $208 billion, while Microsoft stood at $261 billion. By the time Apple passed Microsoft in May, both had market caps around $227 billion. As of today, Apple’s market cap is now $330 billion while Microsoft’s is $228 billion. In these past 9 months, Apple has gained $100 billion in value. Microsoft? $1 billion.
In fact, not only is it clear now that Microsoft will not be re-taking the crown as the most-valuable tech company any time soon, but they’re flirting with being knocked down to the number three — or even number four spot. In the past year, while Microsoft’s stock is down slightly, Google’s is up nearly $100-a-share. This has allowed the search giant to surpass the $200 billion market cap themselves. And they’re now just $28 billion away from Microsoft.
To put it another way, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is much closer to Microsoft in terms of market cap than Apple was when I wrote that post last year. Another killer quarter and Google may be able to take them down as well.
Meanwhile, IBM is a little bit closer at $202 billion. Their stock is up nearly 40 points in the past year. They have a shot of passing Microsoft too.
And just to pre-empt all the “market cap doesn’t mean anything” comments that are inevitable, time has proven that it may mean something. When Apple passed Microsoft last year, Microsoft was still comfortably ahead of Apple in terms of both revenue and profit. Wall Street didn’t care. Investors saw the writing on the wall. Sure enough, by October, Apple rocketed past Microsoft in revenue for the first time about two decades. This part quarter, Microsoft was able to hold a narrow edge in profit, but that is very likely to fall next quarter as well. Apple is the most valuable tech company for a very good reason.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Apple is still a little over $90 billion away from becoming the overall most valuable public company in the world. Exxon’s market cap stands at $422 billion — and the stock, much like Apple’s, continues to be on a tear.