Apple Beats Microsoft in Market Value (MSFT, AAPL)

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An analyst upgrade of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) has changed up the order again this morning, but as of yesterday’s close it was Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) that held the dual position of being both the largest tech company by market capitalization and then also by having the second largest market capitalization rate of its public stock on our Real-Time 500 tracking of companies by market capitalization rates.

Microsoft still has Apple beat on annual sales, however that is expected to change over the next 12 months period.  The companies do have different fiscal year-end periods, but for 2011 the Thomson Reuters estimates are as follows:

  • Apple’s Fiscal September-2011 $69.18 billion in sales (roughly at 16.2-times earnings expectations)
  • Microsoft’s Fiscal June-2011 $67.08 billion in sales (roughly at 11.4-times earnings expectations)

Many thought this day would never come, and many hoped that it would.  The difference here also is that Apple has done this almost entirely without government and enterprise sales. If Apple gets up to that $310 base-case of $400 bullish-case call from Morgan Stanley then this market cap blip and change-up may be a mere footnote.

Apple’s stock is up 2.8% right at $251.00 for a market cap of $228.2 billion; Microsoft’s stock is is up 5.2% on the analyst upgrade at $26.31 and the market cap now on the gain is roughly $230.5 billion.  The big difference here is in the 52-week highs: Microsoft is down almost 17% from its 52-week high of $31.58, while Apple is down less than 8% from its 52-week high of $272.46.