The US stock market has lost trillions in value since the start of the year following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus which has now swept around the world.
Microsoft has weathered the onslaught better than most, being only around 14% down since the start of the year (current market cap $1.03 trillion), reports Bloomberg and is currently the only publicly-traded company valued at more than trillion dollars on the US stock market. This contrasts with Apple (current market cap $981.7 billion), which is down more than 25% YTD, and who exited the trillion-dollar club on Monday.
Bloomberg does not speculate for the reasons for the difference but in these troubled times, the difference between the importance of a productivity versus luxury goods company is obvious.
Microsoft has been one of the first companies in Seattle to ask their workers to work from home, and so far has been one of the least impacted by illness, and has even been able to maintain the productivity of their workers. The company has also been able to provide the tools such as Microsoft Teams that other companies have turned to to keep their infrastructure working.
The company has however also made time to contribute to the fight directly, from donating resources to being directly involved in research for cures.
Another company doing well is Amazon, which is actually worth more now than at the start of the year, for obvious reasons.
I expect all companies will bounce back massively once the crisis is over, but in the changed world left behind, it seems likely Microsoft’s productivity focus will be exactly what we need to rebuild.