Sorry, Apple: Alphabet is now the world's most valuable company

Google Alphabet Apple news
Google Alphabet Apple news

There's been a shake-up today in the never-ending saga of comparing Apples to Android, as Alphabet has topped the iPhone-maker as the world's most valuable company.

That's right: even though Apple just made more money than it ever has, Google's new parent company now has a larger market cap on Wall Street after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings.

Alphabet is worth $570 billion (about £399bn, AU$805bn), with much of the profits owed to Google search and Android. Apple is worth $539 billion (about £377bn, AU$761bn) right now in after-hours trading.

These numbers can fluctuate, but it's still significant because this is the first time that the two tech giants have swapped places since 2010, according to CNBC. Back then, they were worth a measly $200 billion (about £140bn, AU$283bn).

Google and Apple earnings explored

Alphabet has been propelled to 'world's most valuable company' status thanks to profits of $23.42 billion (about £16.39bn, AU$33.07bn) in 2015, after a revenue of $74.54 billion (about £52.18bn, AU$105.3bn).

It made more money in the latest quarter than Apple, but there's a bigger difference investors are seeing: Apple as heavily reliant on iPhone sales, whereas Alphabet is a bit more diversified.

Google's reliance on search, Android, YouTube and the cloud offset some of the wilder revenue sinkholes of Alphabet. Moonshots, listed as 'other bets', lost it $3.56 billion (about £2.49bn, AU$5.02bn).

Apple, meanwhile, only saw a modest growth in its cash cow, iPhone sales, with revenue up a meager 1% year over year, even with 74.4 million iPhones sold in the latest quarter.

Expect to see Apple branch out into other areas, and not just with safe-bet categories like the Apple Watch. All the more reason to think rumors of an Apple VR, an Apple Car and a redesigned iPhone 7 are true.

Matt Swider