Microsoft Is Gradually Closing In on Apple as It Eyes Position as World’s Largest Stock

Although hundreds of billions away, Microsoft’s valuation is gradually closing in on that of Apple, racing to become the world’s largest.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is making progress with its valuation and seems ready to give Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) a run for its money. The company’s valuation is now moving closer to Apple’s as it races to overtake the iPhone maker as the world’s largest company by market cap.

According to Marketwatch data as of writing time, Apple shares have climbed 0.42% this month, lower than Microsoft’s 2.05%. In addition, the year-to-date (YTD) performance for Apple and Microsoft are 36.97% and 37.12%, respectively. Although Microsoft’s valuation at $2.44 trillion is still some way from Apple’s $2.78 trillion, the gap seems to be closing. Microsoft is riding on its involvement with artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, two factors attracting an increasing number of investors.

Huntington Private Bank’s Senior Equity Analyst, David Klink, made a case for a rise in Microsoft’s valuation. According to Klink, “Microsoft has more of what the market wants right now, and given where we stand on the pair’s growth prospects, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it overtake Apple.”

Klink also mentioned Microsoft’s AI efforts as involvements that could be bullish for the company over a long time. Comparing that with Apple, Klink said:

“We have more faith in Microsoft’s margins. While the cloud and AI are growth areas that can stand the test of time over a decade. We don’t know if the iPhone can do the same. It’s hard to make a bear case for Apple, given its services business, but the bull case clearly favors Microsoft.”

Microsoft vs Apple

Preference for Microsoft, especially over Apple, is not new on Wall Street. At the moment, about 90% of Microsoft analysts recommend buying MSFT shares, higher than about 67% for Apple. In addition, Wall Street expects Microsoft to post double-digit increases in net earnings per share and revenue for fiscal 2024 and the three years after. This forecast is largely predicated on cloud- computing and investor appetite for MSFT following the company’s business with OpenAI.

On the other hand, Apple has experienced negative revenue growth for the last three quarters. Analysts already predict that there would be a fourth, which would be the company’s longest in 20 years. While the analysts however expect positive growth in Apple’s fiscal 2024, they do not expect a significant spike.

Microsoft is still on its mission to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard. After facing a rejection, the company has created a new proposal to address issues raised by the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Last year, Microsoft tried to acquire Activision Blizzard in a $69 billion deal. However, regulatory authorities in the United States, the UK, and elsewhere in Europe, were concerned about the possible monopoly and consequences for competitors.

Now that there is a new agreement, the CMA is planning an inquiry to scrutinize the deal and take a final decision by October 18. The revised agreement contains limited privileges for Microsoft, including not holding exclusive rights to publish Activision Blizzard games on the Xbox.

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