Microsoft Shows Why Big Tech Has Staying Power

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Bellevue, Wash., on Wednesday. Photo: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press 18 Comments By Dan Gallagher Dan Gallagher The Wall Street Journal Biography Nov. 29, 2018 7:17 a.m. ET

Big Tech may seem on the ropes these days. But Microsoft MSFT -0.84% —now nearly the biggest of all—shows why companies of this scale tend to stick around.

Microsoft has caught back up to Apple Inc., challenging the iPhone maker’s position as the world’s most valuable company. That is thanks to both the steady gains in its own stock price this year as well as the sharp drop in Apple’s, which shed nearly 19% of its value over just the last month. Both companies are now worth a little over $850 billion. Microsoft was last ranked as the world’s most valuable company in 2003.

In part, Microsoft’s return to the top is due credit for many notable improvements it has made to its business over the last four years. But the company’s relative position also can be chalked up to the fact that it isn’t named Apple, Google, Facebook or Amazon.com . Even with Wednesday’s strong market rally, those four alone have shed about 16% of their combined market value over the last two months—a loss of nearly $550 billion.

The market’s brutal selloff over that period has contributed, but only in part. The Nasdaq Composite has lost 9%, while the S&P 500 has dipped by 6% in that time. Investors may have been flying to safety, but they

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