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Most Valuable Player
For most of the past four years, Apple has reigned supreme as the world’s most valuable company. Now there’s a new holder of the crown: Alphabet. Alphabet, formerly known as Google, reported strong quarterly results on Monday that propelled its stock upwards in after-hours trading. Based on that lift, Alphabet exceeded Apple in market capitalization when the stock began trading on Tuesday morning. Each company is worth more than $500 billion. Alphabet investors were particularly happy, writes Conor Dougherty, because the company revealed the financials of its different businesses — including its Verily health-care subsidiary and its Nest smart devices unit — for the first time, separating them out from the core Google business. That gave a clearer picture of Google’s ad business — and the picture was very strong indeed. Apple, in contrast, is entering a period of slower growth. Last month, the company reported a less than 1 percent rise in quarterly iPhone sales, the lowest increase ever and a far cry from the double-digit gains that investors had grown accustomed to. Tuesday is set to bring Yahoo’s quarterly earnings, which may send its stock on a very different trajectory than Alphabet’s. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive, is under pressure to give details of her plan to spin off the company’s core business. Adding to Ms. Mayer’s woes, a former Yahoo manager on Monday sued the company for using an employee-ranking system that he alleged was discriminatory and a violation of federal and California laws governing mass layoffs.
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