For a brief but significant period of time, stretching from the end of November to the beginning of this year, Microsoft was the most highly valued publicly traded company in the world, until Amazon managed to overtake their market cap on the 9th January 2019.
Since then Amazon has managed to mostly stay ahead, until this week, where things have not been going too amazing. The main issue appears to be a problem with Amazon’s bid for the $10 billion JEDI Pentagon contract after it was found that an ex-Amazon employee was instrumental in writing the procurement specifications. That employee then left to once again work for Amazon, creating the perception of a conflict of interest.
The Defense Department is looking into the bidding process on the lucrative Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program to determine if Amazon created a conflict of interest by hiring a former Pentagon employee who helped develop a cloud-computing procurement contract.
The former Pentagon employee has bounced from working for Amazon Web Services to the government and back to AWS again.
Before this news became public there had already been the perception that the specifications for the bid were written specifically to fit Amazon’s capabilities, an accusation specifically levelled by Oracle.
At the close of market today Microsoft had a market cap of $822.6 billion, while Amazon sat at $816.8 billion, Google at $758.7 billion and Apple at $746 billion.
Whatever the outcome, given how closely the companies have tracked over the last month, it seems likely they will continue to trade places over the next few weeks, at least until their next earnings, which should settle which company is currently most overpriced.