London– Microsoft has upstaged Apple to become the world’s biggest company by market value, as the boom in artificial intelligence brought a new twist to the decades-long rivalry between the two Big Tech groups, media reports said.

The software company’s shares climbed around 1 per cent in early trading on Thursday to take its market value to $2.87 trillion, just ahead of the iPhone maker, whose shares fell by almost 1 per cent. As morning trading in New York continued, the pair exchanged the top spot several times.

Investors’ excitement about the new wave of generative AI has fuelled a rally in the shares of Microsoft, which is the biggest backer of OpenAI, the maker of the popular AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT, Financial Times reported.

Apple has largely been left out of the AI fervour that has propelled Microsoft, which is OpenAI’s largest backer and cloud hosting provider as well as a pioneer in deploying AI chatbots across its search and workplace products.

At the same time, concerns about weaker iPhone sales — particularly in China — have weighed on Apple’s stock in the first few days of 2024, prompting a series of Wall Street analyst downgrades, Financial Times reported.

Apple and Microsoft have been rivals since the 1980s, when the company founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak accused Bill Gates’ Windows maker of stealing the “look and feel” of its Macintosh computer software. Apple lost a high-profile copyright lawsuit targeting Windows in the early 1990s, clearing the way for Microsoft to dominate the PC market for decades. (IANS)