Nov 27, 2018

Stodgy Microsoft rivals Apple in market-cap race

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Data: stockrow.com, Yahoo! Finance; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Microsoft is now neck and neck with Apple for the title of most valuable company in the world.: At market close on Monday, Microsoft was worth $817 billion, just shy of Apple's $829 billion, That comes amid a steady two-year climb for Microsoft and a recent steep drop in Apple's valuation, which topped $1 trillion not long ago.

Bottom line: The story isn't just about the drop in Apple shares, but also the resilience of Microsoft despite having lost its seat at the cool kids' table. This year alone, Microsoft surged past Amazon and Google parent Alphabet.

How is that?: Microsoft has gradually moved from a consumer and business PC company to one that is increasingly focused on the less sexy, but highly profitable data center.

Yes, but: Aren't PC sales flat? They are. But Microsoft has managed to offset that with a fast-growing business in cloud computing. Sales from Windows, even when combined with Surface and Xbox, account for just 36% of revenue, per The Verge.

What they're saying:

  • Bloomberg's Shira Ovide: "Microsoft is the tortoise in a technology world obsessed with hares. We know how that race turned out."
  • Business Insider's Kif Leswing: "The last time Microsoft was more valuable than Apple: The current iPhone was the 3GS. If you wanted to install Windows 7 it came on a CD. Instagram did not yet exist. Barack Obama was finishing out the first half of his first term."

History lesson: Apple and Microsoft have been rivals in the PC world since its early days. When it comes to valuation, though, they have spent most of their history far apart.

  • Apple went public before Microsoft (1980 vs. 1986) but Microsoft quickly eclipsed Apple in value and held the lead for the first two decades or so of the PC era, even having to bail Apple out with a $150 million cash infusion back in August 1997.
  • Buoyed by the iPhone, Apple surged back, overtaking Microsoft. It held the lead continuously over Microsoft until Monday, when Apple briefly dropped below the software giant, before closing at a slightly higher valuation.

But, but, but: The longer view you take, the more you need to think about adjusting for inflation. Today's $800 billion company isn't the same as $800 billion two decades ago.

Bottom line: Market cap is not an indication of innovation, but it does show where Wall Street is placing its bets on the future.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 9 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 721,584 — Total deaths: 33,958 — Total recoveries: 149,122.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 142,106 — Total deaths: 2,479 — Total recoveries: 2,686.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health