Apple passes Microsoft to be biggest tech company

Apple apps plus Steve Jobs Apple's innovations have inspired a vast following

Related Stories

Apple has pushed past arch-rival Microsoft to become the world's biggest technology company.

Changes in the share price values of the two in Wednesday's choppy trading left the total value of Apple at $222bn (£154bn).

Microsoft is now valued by investors at $219bn.

However, Microsoft still enjoys higher profits than Apple. Its most recent annual net profit was $14.6bn (£10bn), compared with $5.7bn for Apple.

Microsoft also reported bigger full-year revenues of $58.4bn, with Apple on $36.5bn.

Apple's shares closed Wednesday trading down 0.4% at $244.11, while Microsoft fell by 4% to $25.01.

iPhone boost

The value of a listed company, known as market capitalisation, is calculated by multiplying the number of shares in a company by the current share price.

MICROSOFT V APPLE

  • Annual revenues: Microsoft $58.4bn, Apple $36.5bn
  • Annual net profits: Microsoft $14.6bn, Apple $5.7bn
  • Earnings per share: Microsoft $1.62, Apple $6.29
  • Price/earnings ratio: Microsoft 12.8, Apple 24.

Apple, which makes computers, iPods, iPhones and now iPads, almost went out of business in the 1990s.

Its growth is partly owing to the launch of the iPod in 2001.

Although the iPod works with computers running Microsoft's Windows operating systems, it encouraged more people to to buy one of Apple's computers.

The big popularity of the iPhone, which has become a big seller since it was first released in 2007, has further boosted Apple's profits and revenues.

Start Quote

It's a long game, we have good competitors... we too are a very good competitor”

End Quote Steve Ballmer Microsoft chief executive

The handset has brought internet access on the move to the mass market, and led to an explosion in downloadable mobile "apps" - applications that enable a huge range of activities, from map reading to booking restaurants.

A new version of the iPhone is expected to be unveiled next month.

Meanwhile, this week sees the launch in the UK and eight other countries of Apple's iPad tablet computer.

This has already proven to be a big seller in the US, so much so that the UK launch was postponed to enable Apple to keep up with demand in the US.

Heyday

Apple has to look back to late 1989 to see the last time it was a bigger company than Microsoft.

Boxs of Microsoft Windows 7 operating system Microsoft makes most of its money from operating systems and software

Microsoft, whose operating system runs on more than 90% of the world's personal computers, has not been able to match growth rates from its heyday of the 1990s.

Microsoft continues to make the majority of its earnings from its software and operating systems, and has struggled to successfully diversify into other products.

However, Microsoft has achieved success with its XBox games console.

Questioned on the news that Apple was now a bigger company, Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer said his firm would continue to follow a long-term strategy.

"It's a long game, we have good competitors... we too are a very good competitor," he said.

"We are executing very well and that is going to lead to great products and great success."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features

  • FlagsNational identity

    After the referendum, have two Scotlands emerged?


  • Two sphinxes guarding the entrance to the tombTomb mystery

    Secrets of ancient burial site keep Greeks guessing


  • Tattooed person using tabletRogue ink

    People who lost their jobs because of their tattoos


  • Relief sculpture of MithrasRoman puzzle

    How to put London's mysterious underground temple back together


  • Deepika PadukoneBeauty and a tweet

    Bollywood cleavage row shows India's 'crass' side


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.