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Apple is now worth $540 billion less than Microsoft — a Tesla-sized gap

Theron Mohamed   

Apple is now worth $540 billion less than Microsoft — a Tesla-sized gap
  • Apple is worth a whopping $540 billion less than Microsoft, a gap the size of Tesla's market value.
  • The iPhone maker's shares are down 11% this year, while the software giant is up 14%.

Apple was the world's most valuable public company at the end of 2023, but is now worth an astounding $540 billion less than Microsoft — a gap equivalent to Tesla's entire market value.

The iPhone maker's market capitalization stood at $2.65 trillion at Thursday's close, compared to $3.19 trillion for Microsoft. Apple was worth $3 trillion, or about $200 billion more than Microsoft, at the end of December.

The yawning gap in market value reflects the stark difference in how their stocks have performed this year. Apple shares have slumped 11%, while Microsoft's shares have jumped 14%.

Apple's slide is a product of the many challenges facing CEO Tim Cook. The tech giant's new Vision Pro headset has been met with skepticism, and Apple has reportedly scrapped its plans to build a car after years of development.

The iPhone maker has also suffered a slowdown in China sales. Moreover, it was fined nearly $2 billion by EU competition regulators earlier this month for abusing its market dominance to hurt Spotify and other music-streaming apps.

The Department of Justice followed that up by slapping Apple with an antitrust lawsuit on Thursday. It accused the technology giant of having an "illegal monopoly on smartphones" that harms consumers and developers and stifles competition.

Meanwhile, Microsoft stock has surged this year fueled by excitement about its stake in ChatGPT's parent company, OpenAI, and its potential to be a key player in the artificial-intelligence revolution.

Microsoft has also launched its own AI tools including Copilot, and as one of the three main cloud providers along with Amazon and Alphabet, it's poised to profit from another computing boom.

CEO Satya Nadella's company is also growing at a good clip. Revenues rose 15% year-on-year to about $119 billion in the six months to December, and net income jumped 30% to over $44 billion, per its latest earnings report.

For a rough comparison, Apple's annual report for 2023 shows its revenues dipped 3% to $383 billion, and its net income slid by 3% to $97 billion.

Apple might close the value gap and even overtake Microsoft again in the future. But for now at least, you could drive a Tesla between the two companies.

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