Nvidia Pushes Out Apple, Microsoft to Become World’s Most Valuable Company

The chipmaker’s stock market value has risen rapidly during the AI data center boom.

The Washington Post

June 19, 2024

3 Min Read
Nvidia data center chips
Image: Bloomberg

(The Washington Post) -- Nvidia, the computer chip maker at the center of the artificial intelligence boom, continued its spectacular stock market rise Tuesday, eclipsing Microsoft and Apple to become the world’s most valuable public company.

Nvidia’s shares rose more than 3% Tuesday (June 18), giving the company an overall market valuation of $3.34 trillion. Apple and Microsoft, which for years have swapped positions as the world’s most valuable company, were worth slightly less - around $3.29 trillion and $3.31 trillion, respectively, at the end of trading.

Nvidia’s computer chips and software are crucial to training the AI algorithms behind image generators and chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. As the tech and business worlds throw themselves into the AI boom, demand for the chips has skyrocketed, pushing Nvidia’s revenue up to $26 billion in the first quarter of this year, up from just $7.2 billion a year ago.

AI Boom

The AI boom has been reshuffling the world’s biggest companies in the past two years. In January, Microsoft surged past Apple to become the world’s most valuable company as investors have poured money into the hot technology.

Nvidia, which was already a large company, has had the “most remarkable growth story,” in tech, said Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management.

Related:Nvidia Unveils Next-Generation Rubin AI Platform for 2026

“I don’t think this is done,” he said. “If you believe that AI is going to be as transformative as some believe, this will continue to rise.”

Nvidia’s rise to become the world’s most valuable company underlines how strongly investors believe Big Tech executives’ claims that AI will overhaul whole swaths of modern life. The technology demands more processing power from computers than other kinds of software, and business leaders are busy building new data centers and filling them with chips from Nvidia and other companies to handle new AI tasks.

Professional investment funds and individual retail investors alike have thrown their money into Nvidia’s shares, pushing up the price even faster than the company’s revenue has grown. Since OpenAI kicked off the wave of interest in AI with the launch of ChatGPT at the end of November 2022, Nvidia’s stock price has grown about 700 percent.

Nvidia controls about 70 percent of the market for AI chips, making the company a kingmaker in the industry. That has brought new scrutiny from regulators.

Nvidia declined to comment Tuesday.

Before the AI boom, Nvidia was best known for making computer chips used in video game consoles and computers. But the special characteristics of these “graphics processing units” that made them useful for gaming also made them well-suited to crunching the giant calculations needed to train AI algorithms.

Related:HPE Introduces ‘Turnkey’ AI Data Center Solution With Nvidia

In the mid-2010s, researchers at artificial intelligence labs began using Nvidia GPUs as they tinkered with evermore capable AI. The company took notice and began improving the software used to program its chips to make it more suited to AI work. By the time the AI boom happened, most of the industry was accustomed to using Nvidia’s chips and software. Other chip companies, like AMD and Intel, have scrambled to catch up, but industry analysts and AI researchers say Nvidia will continue to benefit from its head start for years.

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