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Microsoft becomes world's third company to be worth $1 trillion

James Titcomb
Revenue from sales of Microsoft Surface devices like tablets, laptops and headphones have increased by 21pc - Bloomberg News

Microsoft has reached a valuation of one trillion dollars for the first time after posting a 19pc increase in profits.

It makes the software giant only the third publicly-traded company in history to reach the threshold, after Apple and Amazon passed it last year.

The two companies have since fallen in value and Microsoft is now the world's largest listed company. Shares rose almost 4pc in early trading to more than $130.50 on Thursday, putting Microsoft’s market capitalisation above Apple’s

The milestone caps a years-long turnaround for Microsoft. The company's Windows software saw it dominate computing two decades ago but subsequently floundered as Google, Apple and Facebook developed search engines, smartphones and social media.

Under Satya Nadella, who took charge five years ago, the company has focused on corporate software and cloud computing services, and shares have increased by almost 250pc. It became the world's biggest company for the first time in 16 years last November and has since jostled with Apple for the crown.

On Wednesday night it said revenues had increased by 14pc in the first three months of 2019 to $30.6bn  (£23.7bn), above investors' expectations.Microsoft posted profits of $8.8bn, which it said had been driven by growth in its cloud computing business.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service, which allows other companies to rent computing power, competes heavily with Amazon’s Web Services, the leader in the field.

Mr Nadella said businesses “trust” Microsoft, a potential nod to some companies’ discomfort with using Amazon’s cloud services while competing with other aspects of the company.

“Leading organisations of every size in every industry trust the Microsoft cloud. We are accelerating our innovation across the cloud and edge so our customers can build the digital capability increasingly required to compete and grow,” Mr Nadella said.

It said revenues from LinkedIn, the professional social network it acquired for $26bn in 2016, rose 27pc, and sales of its Office productivity software were up 12pc.

"This quarter was an absolute 'blow out quarter' across the board with no blemishes and in our opinion speaks to an inflection point in deal flow as more enterprises pick (Microsoft) for the cloud," said Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities.

"While the stock has been very strong and a trillion dollar market cap is now reached, we believe the cloud party is just getting started in Redmond."