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Microsoft is chasing down Apple to get the honors of world's most valuable company

An illustration of dollars

Just before Christmas, Apple sat undaunted at the throne as the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization. But a slower start to 2024 sent Cupertino’s value down from over three trillion to just 2.82 trillion dollars.

If Apple doesn’t change the trend, we could see a new face on that throne very soon. Currently, there is only one challenger close enough to try his luck and take the crown – Microsoft.

In the past couple of days, Microsoft’s stock experienced a slight decline of its own. However, it’s nothing significant enough to prevent the Redmond-based company from keeping an eye on the number one spot.

As first reported by MarketWatch.com, Microsoft is now only $100 billion shy of Apple, with its market cap currently at 2.73 trillion dollars. Its stock price skyrocketed through 2023 by around one trillion dollars.

Although Apple has enjoyed a similarly positive trend throughout 2023, the past couple of days were quite different. As Business Insider reported on Tuesday, British bank Barclays downgraded the Apple stock rating – for the first time since 2019 – from neutral to underweight, essentially calling it an underperforming asset.

As MarketWatch.com added, another analyst did the same just a few days later. American investment bank Piper Sandler downgraded the Apple stock rating from overweight to neutral.

Stock comparison of Apple and Microsoft
Current stock comparison of Apple and Microsoft for the past six months.

The problems for Apple were mainly traced to unsatisfactory iPhone demand in China. “While Barclays analysts noted sluggish growth was observed across Apple’s products like Macs and iPads, iPhones account for around 50% of the company’s revenues,” Business Insider explains the importance of the smartphone market.

On the other hand, Microsoft plans to continue the positive trend of 2023, being in the middle of implementing AI capabilities across a whole range of its software products. That was allowed by the multi-billion dollar partnership with OpenAI announced a year ago.

Just seven years ago, Microsoft was worth just $500 billion in market cap. However, it took only four years for the Redmond company to briefly surpass Apple as the world’s most valuable company. This is its first big shot at No.1 in three years.

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