Apple Briefly Overtakes Microsoft For Market Crown On AI Plans

Apple AI announcements triggers three-day rally that sees market value briefly overtake Microsoft for most valuable listed US firm

Stock in Apple last week experienced a three-day rise that briefly saw it overtake Microsoft to regain its crown as the most valuable listed US company, after the company announced plans to integrate generative artificial intelligence (AI) across its devices and a tie-up with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

The “Apple Intelligence” plans, announced on Monday at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), triggered the company’s biggest one-day percentage gain since November 2022 on Tuesday.

Its shares continued to rise until Thursday, when Apple closed with a market value of roughly $3.285 trillion (£2.6tn) to Microsoft’s $3.282tn.

It was the first time since January that Apple had a higher market capitalisation than Microsoft, which, like other companies with concrete exposure to AI, has seen its shares rise sharply this year.

Image credit: Apple

Stock rally

The three-day gains added some $323.9bn to Apple’s market value, more than the value of nearly all of the companies that form part of the S&P 500 Index.

Apple’s shares levelled off on Friday and Microsoft edged above it once more in market value, but Apple continued to rank higher than Nvidia, which had earlier surpassed it.

Apple has seen its shares rise about 14 percent so far this year, lagging firms such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google parent Alphabet and Meta Platforms, which have been seen to be more directly engaged in the generative AI arms race.

Nvidia, which now ranks third in market value behind Microsoft and Apple, has seen its stock rise about 82 percent this year.

Apple Intelligence

Apple’s gains also trail the Nasdaq 100 Index, which has risen about 18 percent since the beginning of 2024.

Apple’s AI plans are aimed at driving upgrades of iPhones and other devices, which have slowed in recent quarters amidst economic uncertainty, particularly in China.

The company’s revenue fell 4.3 percent in its fiscal second quarter, the fifth drop in the past six quarters.

Analysts at Bank of America said AI was likely to drive upgrades for several years, with faster replacement, switching from other platforms and increases to average selling prices.