While Microsoft is valued above Apple, that may not be the case for much longer.
While an early Marketwatch report stated Apple had actually exceeded Microsoft's S&P 500 ranking, it turned out to be mostly incorrect. The initial report put Apple ahead of Microsoft for the first time since 1997, but shrewd investors pointed out the report did not factor all of Microsoft's business ventures. The end result? Apple trails Microsoft still, but the margin is getting narrower, Apple's market value is stated at 88 percent of Microsoft's market value.
In the past ten years Apple has made substantial gains economically as it began releasing portable, often internet-capable gadgets to appeal to the mass market. Like Microsoft, Apple pushed for and achieved a certain ubiquity in the consumer household with things like the iPod and the iPhone, keeping all its property under tight control (such as its ban of sexually suggestive apps). Microsoft has instead striven to have its brand on every desktop and company computer in America, having been less concerned with micromanaging the content it allows its brand to be attached to.
Does this gain mean we'll see a changing of the guard, where users everywhere go Mac? Probably not, but it would behoove Microsoft to take notice. Apple doesn't show any signs of stopping, so the pressure is on for Microsoft to stay competitive.