Apple overtakes Microsoft to return as world’s most valuable company

(Reuters) -Apple once again became the world’s most valuable company on Wednesday, dethroning Microsoft from the top spot, as the iPhone maker pushed ahead in a race to dominate artificial intelligence technology.

Its shares rose more than 2% to $211.75, giving it a market valuation of $3.25 trillion. Microsoft’s market capitalization stood at $3.24 trillion, falling behind Apple for the first time in five months.

Apple shares had surged to an all-time high in the previous session, a day after it unveiled a range of AI-enabled features and software enhancements for its devices, a move that several analysts said would power iPhone sales.

At Apple’s annual developer conference on Monday, executives, including CEO Tim Cook, touted how voice assistant Siri would be able to interact with messages, emails, calendar as well as third-party apps.

The tech giant has trailed rivals such as Microsoft and Google-owner Alphabet in the red-hot field of AI, a reason why its shares underperformed this year compared to its peers.

Apple’s shares are up about 10% so far in 2024, while Microsoft has added about 16% and Alphabet nearly 28%.

Some of the concerns over its weak share performance eased after Apple beat market expectations for quarterly results and forecast in May, and unveiled a record $110 billion buyback plan.

AI chip leader Nvidia, which briefly overtook Apple’s market value last week, is up a whopping 144% this year. Nvidia last had a market value of $3.06 trillion.

Tesla is the only other ‘Magnificent Seven’ stock that has fared worse than Apple this year, with a more than 30% slide.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)