Apple and Microsoft oust energy from top spots as most highly valued firms
Technology has knocked oil off the top spot in terms of verticals possessing the biggest companies that trade on the stock market — with Apple and Microsoft claiming the top two places, respectively.
A report by online spread betting firm City Index has unveiled the biggest companies by market capitalisation in 1980, 2000, and 2023, demonstrating a decades-long shift from big oil to big tech.
Surprising absolutely nobody, Apple has ascended from not even gracing the top 10 just 13 years ago to bumping Microsoft from the top spot. Today, Apple stands as the world’s highest valued company, at $3.03 trillion.
The California-based tech-giant launched iOS17, the latest iteration of its proprietary operating software, just days ago.
But Apple’s reign of financial supremacy began in the 2010s, when it became the first US company to break the $1tn barrier. A record it would break when it surpassed $2tn only two years later.
The City Index report shows that Microsoft is the second-largest company of 2023 — bolstered by robust revenues from enduring products like Windows and Office, along with industry-leading services like Azure cloud computing and its stake in Chat GPT creator Open AI. This year Microsoft boasted a market cap of $2.51tn.
Yet, the technology giant that dominated the market in 2000 with a value of $606 billion, now finds itself following in Apple’s wake.
Apple has underpinned this transition with its latest ESG report, doubling down on its 2020 pledge to be completely carbon-neutral by 2030 and releasing the first in what promises to be a line of carbon-neutral products, beginning with the Apple Watch.
The report captures a compelling market shift from fossil fuel to technology. The dominance of the petroleum industry in the 1980s saw six oil and gas companies among the top 10, a stark contrast to today’s solitary representative, Saudi Aramco.
Closely followed behind the oil firm are another cluster of US Big Tech firms: Alphabet (Google) with a market cap of $1.52tn; Amazon ($1.34tn) and chip maker NVIDIA ($1.05tn).
Facebook meanwhile ranks 9th and is valued at $733bn. Now known as Meta, the social media giant lost almost two-thirds of its value last year as metaverse costs soared and the company’s core online ad business suffered.
And ranked tenth is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, with a market cap of $535bn, outlining the country’s continued dominance on the worldwide chip market — it produces 60% of the world’s semiconductors and over 90% of the most advanced ones.
However, fossil fuel influencers like Saudi Aramco refuse to diminish without a fight. Now the third largest company in 2023, Aramco seems unbowed by the mounting global green wave. CEO Nasser forecasts record usage of oil by the latter half of this year and expects demand to increase by 2030.
* According to City Index, the data is correct as of 21st August 2023 and is subject to change
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