On Tuesday morning, the market was ready to crown a new firm as the most-valuable public company. The market capitalization of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, soared to $570 billion after the release of solid earnings numbers—which surpassed Apple’s $535 billion. By midday, the companies both hovered below $530 billion.
The “war” for the top spot between Alphabet and Apple is unlikely to end anytime soon, as one good (or bad) earnings report can be enough to shift the balance. That’s exactly what happened this week. Last summer, Google announced that it would be reorganizing its operations under a parent company, called Alphabet, so investors could have a better view of what was really going on in each of its ventures. After investors took a look at these finances and liked what they saw on Monday, Alphabet was poised to overtake Apple when the markets opened the following day.
Regardless of which company’s valuation happens to be highest during any given quarter, it’s pretty astounding that both are past halfway to a trillion dollars. How did they get so large? First, these are two tech companies that have been incredibly successful at getting millions of people to use their services or products—the iPhone for Apple, and search for Google.