Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock has risen quickly over the past year and is now 134% higher than it was 365 days ago. This has taken its market cap above $2 trillion, the first time an American company has crossed that mark. As several major tech public corporations’ prospects have surged, based on strong earnings and earnings forecasts, two other companies are approaching the $2 trillion mark. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has a market cap of $1.65 tillion. Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) is $1.61 tillion.
Apple’s stock price increase has been based on better than expected iPhone sales, a belief that sales of the new iPhone will surge at year-end, and its growing services business. The reason for improved prospects for Amazon and Microsoft are just as convincing.
Amazon’s revenue rose sharply last quarter, as people moved a huge amount of their retail activity online. Brick-and-mortar retailers could not compete because, in many cases, their stores were closed. In the most recent quarter, revenue reached $89 billion, up from $63.4 billion in the year-ago period. Amazon still has its best revenue-producing periods ahead of it this year. Prime Day, when it offers special prices on hundreds of thousands of items, driving what is often the best revenue period of Amazon’s year, will be in October. And Amazon’s largest quarter is the final one of the year, when it is swamped by sales from holiday shoppers.
Amazon also continues to be the leader in one of the largest business-to-business sectors of the tech economy: cloud computing. Its Amazon Web Services had revenue of $10.8 billion last quarter, up from $8.3 billion in the year earlier. It also posted a very high 31% operating margin.
Microsoft is another leader in cloud computing, which has driven both its revenue and its stock price. Most of the cloud computing sales fall under its Azure brand. Its figures broke almost every expectation when most recently reported. Microsoft also has done well in hardware sales, which were not a large part of its sales just a few years ago. Its Surface personal computer products and Xbox have had strong sales through much of the year. This is expected to rise as people both work from home and rely on products like Xbox for in-home entertainment. Its new Xbox Series X is expected to launch for the fourth quarter.
Over the past year, Amazon’s stock is up 80% and Microsoft’s is 55% higher. Each has trailed Apple over the period. The two companies have prospects that could narrow the spread within weeks, if not months.