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20 Years of Apple vs. Microsoft, by Market Capitalization

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See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.

Line chart illustrating the fluctuation of Apple vs Microsoft as the world’s most valuable company over the years.

Charted: 20 Years of Apple vs. Microsoft

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

For years, Apple and Microsoft have been switching places as the world’s most valuable company, in terms of market capitalization.

In today’s chart, we explore this history, as well as key events over the past two decades, based on data from CompaniesMarketCap and both companies. Data is from January 16, 2024.

A History of the Battle for Market Cap Dominance

During the 1990s, Microsoft capitalized on the success of Windows, supplanting General Electric as the most valuable company in the U.S. in the process.

Around the same time, Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy due to intense competition in the personal computer market, high product pricing, and a lack of innovation. The company also suffered from numerous failed attempts to modernize the Macintosh operating system (Mac OS) and the failed launches of products like QuickTake digital cameras, PowerCD portable CD, audio players, speakers, and the Pippin video game console.

Over the next decade, however, after the return of Steve Jobs as the CEO, Apple’s stock performance was legendary. This can be attributed to the success of products such as the iMac, iPod, and iPhone, the launch of the famous “Think Different” advertising brand campaign, and opening the Apple Store retail chain.

DateEvent Company
Feb 2008iPhoneApple
Jul 2008App StoreApple
Feb 2010AzureMicrosoft
April 2010iPadApple
Mid-2011Tim Cook in as CEO. Steve Jobs diesApple
Feb 2014Satya Nadella becomes CEOMicrosoft
Dec 2016LinkedIn acquisitionMicrosoft
Dec 2016AirPodsApple
Jan 2022Activision Blizzard acquisitionMicrosoft
Early-2023Microsoft invests $10B into OpenAIMicrosoft

In 2004, Microsoft had a market cap of $291 billion compared to Apple’s $26 billion. By the end of that decade, Apple would reach $297 billion, surpassing its rival ($234 billion).

Market cap (USD)Apple Microsoft
2024*$3.002 T$3.009 T
2023$2.994 T$2.794 T
2022$2.066 T$1.787 T
2021$2.901 T$2.522 T
2020$2.255 T$1.681 T
2019$1.287 T$1.200 T
2018$746.07 B$780.36 B
2017$860.88 B$659.90 B
2016$608.96 B$483.16 B
2015$583.61 B$439.67 B
2014$643.12 B$381.72 B
2013$500.74 B$310.50 B
2012$499.69 B$223.66 B
2011$377.51 B$218.38 B
2010$297.09 B$234.52 B
2009$190.98 B$268.55 B
2008$75.99 B$172.92 B
2007$174.03 B$332.11 B
2006$72.98 B$291.94 B
2005$60.79 B$271.54 B
2004$26.05 B$290.71 B
2003$7.88 B$295.29 B
2002$5.16 B$276.63 B

*As of January 2024

Since then, the top spot has been most often held by Apple. The company only fell behind Microsoft in 2018 when concerns about COVID-driven supply chain shortages affected the iPhone maker’s stock price.

More recently, the Apple vs. Microsoft race was shaken up once again. Microsoft became the world’s most valuable company in January 2024, after the rival iPhone maker’s shares had a weak start to the year due to growing concerns over demand in China.

Microsoft’s shares have also been strongly buoyed by the company’s early lead in generative artificial intelligence, mainly thanks to its early investment in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.

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Ranked: The 20 Biggest Tech Companies by Market Cap

In total, the 20 biggest tech companies are worth over $20 trillion—nearly 18% of the stock market value globally.

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A portion of the top 20 biggest tech companies visualized as bubbles sized by market cap with Apple as the biggest.

Ranked: The 20 Biggest Tech Companies by Market Cap

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The world’s 20 biggest tech companies are worth over $20 trillion in total. To put this in perspective, this is nearly 18% of the stock market value globally.

This graphic shows which companies top the ranks, using data from Companiesmarketcap.com.

A Closer Look at The Top 20

Market capitalization (market cap) measures what a company is worth by taking the current share price and multiplying it by the number of shares outstanding. Here are the biggest tech companies according to their market cap on June 13, 2024.

RankCompanyCountry/RegionMarket Cap
1AppleU.S.$3.3T
2MicrosoftU.S.$3.3T
3NvidiaU.S.$3.2T
4AlphabetU.S.$2.2T
5AmazonU.S.$1.9T
6MetaU.S.$1.3T
7TSMCTaiwan$897B
8BroadcomU.S.$778B
9TeslaU.S.$582B
10TencentChina$453B
11ASMLNetherlands$415B
12OracleU.S.$384B
13SamsungSouth Korea$379B
14NetflixU.S.$281B
15AMDU.S.$258B
16QualcommU.S.$243B
17SAPGermany$225B
18SalesforceU.S.$222B
19PDD Holdings (owns Pinduoduo)China$212B
20AdobeU.S.$206B

Note: PDD Holdings says its headquarters remain in Shanghai, China, and Ireland is used for legal registration for its overseas business.

 

Apple is the largest tech company at the moment, having competed with Microsoft for the top of the leaderboard for many years. The company saw its market cap soar after announcing its generative AI, Apple Intelligence. Analysts believe people will upgrade their devices over the next few years, since the new features are only available on the iPhone 15 Pro or newer.

Microsoft is in second place in the rankings, partly thanks to enthusiasm for its AI software which is already generating revenue. Rising profits also contributed to the company’s value. For the quarter ended March 31, 2024, Microsoft increased its net income by 20% compared to the same quarter last year.

Nvidia follows closely behind with the third-highest market cap, rising more than eight times higher compared to its value at the start of 2023. The company has recently announced higher profits, introduced a higher dividend, and reported that its next-generation GPU chip will start generating revenue later this year.

AI a Driver of the Biggest Tech Companies

It’s clear from the biggest tech companies that involvement in AI can contribute to investor confidence.

Among S&P 500 companies, AI has certainly become a focus topic. In fact, 199 companies cited the term “AI” during their first quarter earnings calls, the highest on record. The companies who mentioned AI the most were Meta (95 times), Nvidia (86 times), and Microsoft (74 times).

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