Software and Cloud computing giant Microsoft yesterday swept past the $1 trillion valuation milestone after its share price rose by 5.1% in early Wall Street trading. Microsoft’s market capitalisation ended the day just off $1 trillion after gains pared to 3.31% leaving its closing valuation at a little over $990 billion. But Microsoft becomes only the third company in history to hit a $1 trillion valuation after Apple and Amazon in 2018.
Apple held above $1 trillion for a few months last year after passing the valuation level in August. The iPhone maker finally slipped back below the threshold at the very end of October. Amazon also managed the feat in early September. However, like Microsoft yesterday, Amazon’s flirtation was brief, passing the $1 trillion level during intraday trading before closing the day below. The online retailer, which like Microsoft also has a quickly growing cloud computing unit, hasn’t managed to reach the same heights again since.
Apple and Amazon are again edging close to $1 trillion valuations, with Google-owner Alphabet not too far behind, after a strong start to the year has seen much of the ground lost during the late 2018 sell-off regained.
Microsoft’s investors will be keen to see if the company is able to make the small hop back above $1 trillion today to hold over the weekend and potentially consolidate next week. The latest gains, pushing Microsoft back above Apple as the world’s most valuable company, came after Wednesday saw the company post better-than-expected results from the first three months of 2019.
Microsoft’s Azure Cloud services unit is showing rapid revenue growth – a trend that looks set to continue as companies across the world transition their server capacity to Cloud vendors, which offer processing and storage as a service. With a pay-as-you-go model, Cloud services are generally much cheaper than traditional in-house server capacity and also offer the flexibility to immediately scale and reduce resources used as and when required.
Amazon’s AWS is currently the market-leading Cloud computing service but Microsoft’s Azure is in second place in a quickly growing market with huge further potential.