- Microsoft is now the third U.S. company to surpass a market value of $1 trillion, after Apple and Amazon.
- Its stock rose almost 4 percent on Thursday, boosted by better-than-expected third-quarter results.
- Profits were boosted by new clients and demand for cloud computing.
Microsoft on Thursday became the third U.S. company to hit $1 trillion in market value, joining rivals Apple and Amazon. The tech company's Azure cloud software helped deliver third-quarter results that topped analyst estimates, boosting its stock price and pushing its value past the trillion-dollar mark.
Apple was the first to hit the historic mark in August, followed by Amazon, which operates cloud-computing services that compete with Microsoft, in September. Microsoft crossed that rarefied threshold after its shares rose more than 5 percent in early trading following the company's better-than-expected earnings report. Its market value slipped back to $991 billion after the shares slipped in afternoon trade to close up 3 percent on the day.
The Redmond, Washington-based company, founded by Bill Gates and the late Paul Allen in 1975, has climbed roughly 28 percent this year. It's also getting a lift from a buoyant stock market, with stocks hittingthis week.
Microsoft's growing cloud computing business helped the company take the third spot on the tech trillion-dollar pedestal. CEO Satya Nadella's efforts to sign big brands to its cloud computing software is paying off, with the company attracting new clients including Kroger, Walgreens and ExxonMobil, Bloomberg noted.
Microsoft reported quarterly revenue of $30.6 billion, up 14 percent from a year ago. Profit rose 19 percent to $8.8 billion.
Revenue for its Azure product rose 73 percent in the quarter and "continues to gain share vs. the likes of AWS and Amazon," Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note to investors.
"We view last night's March results as another feather in the cap for Nadella in the company's quest to become a cloud behemoth," he wrote.
Microsoft is expected to continue to gain market share in the cloud computing industry, a market which the forecasting firm Gartner projects will reach $182 billion by 2022, UBS analyst Jennifer Swanson Lowe wrote in a client note.
"Microsoft is in the early stages of a likely decade-long corporate transformation, driving revenue growth and profit gains that are not reflected in the current valuation," she wrote.