Microsoft becomes world’s most valuable company

NEW DELHI: Satya Nadella-led Microsoft surpassed Apple on Tuesday to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company. All it took was a $300 billion rout.

After briefly claiming the top spot on Monday, Microsoft shares rose 0.6% on Tuesday, pushing the company’s market value to $828.1 billion at the close. That exceeded by more than $1 billion the value of Apple, which has tumbled this month on concern about iPhone unit sales. The last time Microsoft’s market capitalisation was bigger than that of Apple was in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The rise of cloud computing changed Microsoft’s fortunes about five years ago. Under Nadella, who was appointed CEO in 2014, the company invested heavily in data centres and other infrastructure to run applications and store data for corporate customers. The move paid off handsomely. When he took over, the share price was at about $38. Today, it’s almost three times as much, at $109.

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Nadella, 50, grew up in Hyderabad and Delhi. His father, BN Yugandhar, an IAS officer, went on to become a Planning Commission member.

Nadella did his engineering from Manipal University between 1984 and 1988, and then went to the US where he received a Masters in computer science and an MBA. He worked briefly with Sun Microsystems before joining Microsoft in 1992. At Microsoft, he worked in a variety of businesses, from core enterprise products to online services including Bing, MSN and the cloud platform Azure.

As CEO, Nadella took the path-breaking decision early on to delink Microsoft’s Office work productivity software from its Windows operating system, and offered the former as a subscription service over the internet and on other companies’ devices, including Apple’s. It also stopped making smartphone hardware, while boosting the quality of its tablet and PC designs.

A recent stock market swoon has taken a toll on nearly all technology companies. But investors have punished consumer-focused companies like Apple and more than firms that mostly cater to businesses, like Microsoft. It’s down 6.3% since the start of October, while Apple has lost 23%.

Starting more than a decade ago, Microsoft fell behind Apple as computing shifted from desktop machines to mobile devices like iPhones, making Microsoft’s PC dominance less relevant. Attempts to regain its footing by acquiring Nokia’s handset business and releasing its own phones led to expensive writedowns.

Today, Microsoft is second behind Amazon Web Services in the cloud. That’s insulated Microsoft’s stock from worries about declining consumer spending on devices and increased regulation of digital advertising businesses like Facebook and Alphabet’s Google.

TCS’ m-cap pips RIL’s on BSE

NEW DELHI: TCS once again became the most-valued Indian company by m-cap following a smart surge in its share price on Wednesday. At the end of trade on the BSE, TCS commanded an m-cap of Rs 7,41,678 crore, which is just over Rs 15,124 crore more than that of RIL’s Rs 7,26,553-crore m-cap.

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