Microsoft Rides Cloud Computing Boost to Nearly Overtake Apple as Most Valuable Company

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A surge in Microsoft’s shares nearly unseated Apple Inc as the world’s most valuable company on Wednesday, a day before the iPhone maker reports its quarterly results.

Fuelled by strong quarterly growth in its Azure cloud-computing business, Microsoft’s shares jumped 4.2 percent to end at a record $323.17 (roughly Rs. 24,225), elevating the software maker’s market capitalisation to $2.426 trillion (roughly Rs. 1,81,86,020 crore), just short of Apple’s $2.461 trillion (roughly Rs. 1,84,45,070 crore) valuation, according to Refinitiv data.

Apple’s shares dipped 0.3 percent ahead of its report due after the bell on Thursday, with investors focused on how the global supply-chain crisis is challenging the company’s ability to meet demand for its iPhone models.

Microsoft’s stock has rallied 45 percent this year, with pandemic-induced demand for its cloud-based services driving sales. Shares of Apple have climbed 12 percent in 2021.

Apple’s stock market value overtook Microsoft’s in 2010 as the iPhone made it the world’s premier consumer technology company. The two companies have taken turns as Wall Street’s most valuable company in recent years, with Apple holding the title since mid-2020.

In its report late on Tuesday, Microsoft forecast a strong end to the calendar year thanks to its booming cloud business, but it warned that supply-chain woes will continue to dog key units, such as those producing its Surface laptops and Xbox gaming consoles.

Analysts on average expect Apple to report September-quarter revenue up 31 percent to $84.8 billion (roughly Rs. 6,35,560 crore) and adjusted earnings per share of $1.24 (roughly Rs. 90), according to Refinitiv.


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