The chief executive of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, yesterday brushed off news that it had been overtaken by Apple, saying his company would remain more profitable than its US rival.
At the close of trade on the Nasdaq exchange in New York on Wednesday, Apple's market capitalisation surpassed that of Microsoft for the first time.
Microsoft's value slumped to $219.1bn after its share price tumbled 4 per cent to $25.01. Apple's shares fell by 0.45 per cent to $244.05, giving the developer of the iPad and Apple Mac computers a value of $222.07bn.
Mr Ballmer was bullish in his response, saying: "I will make more profits and certainly there is no technology company in the planet which is as profitable as we are."
Microsoft's revenues of $58bn (£40bn) last year were 59 per cent higher than Apple's $36.5bn. "Stock markets will take care of the rest," Mr Ballmer added.
The chief executive was in the Indian capital, New Delhi, to talk about Microsoft's development of cloud computing – whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like an electricity grid.
However, questions focused on the rivalry between Microsoft and Apple – and what some have called a shift in the technology industry's power base. "It is a long game," Mr Ballmer admitted. "We have good competitors but we, too, are very good competitors."
He said Microsoft was executing its strategy well, which would "lead to great products and great success". He added: "I am still pleased that 94 times out of a 100 somebody picks a [Microsoft] Windows PC."
Mr Ballmer said cloud computing – a term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the internet – would create 300,000 jobs in India within five years. "India will not only see a surge in consumption of cloud services, driving growth in domestic IT usage, but companies all over the world will look to India for their transition to cloud computing," he added.
Later this year, Microsoft will begin selling its Windows Phone 7 series of smartphones – unveiled in February – in direct competition with Apple's iPhone. Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard have also developed a tablet computer to rival Apple's iPad, which is on sale in the UK from today.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies