updated 01:25 pm EST, Thu February 9, 2012
Apple hits symbolic stock value
An exceptional run on Apple stock over the past few days has made Apple's stock value worth more than either of its two most direct rivals combined. A comparison has shown that, as of mid-day Thursday, Apple's market cap of about $456 billion was greater than both those of Google ($198.9 billion) and Microsoft ($256.7 billion). As noted by AppleInsider, Apple was taking advantage of both Google missing targets and bruising its share as well as Microsoft's historic inability to excite shareholders.
Stock in Apple passed Microsoft in 2010. Months later, in July and August, Apple gradually overtook Exxon to have the most valuable stock in the US.
Most of Apple's continuous rise in share can be owed to both its nature as a hardware company, which gives it higher revenues and more perceived worth, as well as a continual growth that has usually been well-managed as it enters new categories. The company is often deliberately conservative with its guidance and careful to produce final results that are above guidance and often record-setters. Even optimistic predictions hadn't fully anticipated its blowout fall quarter, where it regained the lead among individual smartphone makers after a brief tenure by Samsung.
Google and Microsoft are based around search ads and software, respectively, and have typically had difficult times breaking out of these areas for revenue. Android is still seen primarily as a vehicle for mobile search revenue, while Microsoft regularly loses hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter trying to cut into Google's search business with Bing.