Microsoft rides the AI wave to a $2.9 trillion market cap, beating Apple as the most valuable corporation on Earth

As part of another adventure in numbers incomprehensible to the human mind, Microsoft has gained the upper hand in its rivalry with Apple, attaining a market value of $2.87 trillion and becoming the most valuable company on the planet. 

As reported by the Financial Times, Microsoft nosed ahead of Apple earlier today, on the back of a 1% increase in its share value. Apple’s, meanwhile, dropped 1%, leaving Steve Jobs’ baby with a market cap fully $4 billion lower than Microsoft’s. Apple’s market cap stood at $2.871 trillion, Microsoft’s at $2.875 trillion.

A pittance! Apple will, no doubt, regain its lead at some point in the weeks, days, or hours to come. The two companies have already swapped spots several times today. What’s interesting here, though, is the reason for Redmond’s sudden lead. You guessed it, folks, it’s AI.

Apple has largely kept its beak out of the ongoing AI gold rush—although it’s certainly paying attention and doubtless has big plans—while Microsoft is a massive investor in OpenAI and seems determined to cram the tech into everything from Bing to your actual, physical keyboard

Investors rather like that about Microsoft, it turns out, and it’s made for a deep well of multi-trillion-dollar enthusiasm for the company on the stock market. Meanwhile—as the FT points out—Apple’s relatively weak recent iPhone sales has seen a fairly ho-hum reaction from markets. That combined with the company’s notable absence in the AI rat race has left it, well, $4 billion behind Microsoft, at least for now.

It is a situation that will undoubtedly change, both as AI hype ebbs and flows and as whatever forbidden machinations Apple CEO Tim Cook has dreamt up in his Cupertino spaceship start to bear fruit. It seems unthinkable that a company as gargantuan as Apple—or investors as hungry as its shareholders—would let itself stay aloof of the AI game for long. Hell, it might be the first time I welcome the introduction of the tech. Siri is bloody useless. 

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