On paper, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is still light years ahead of Google (NASDAQ; GOOG).
Apple has the larger market cap ($431 billion vs. $252 billion), the larger revenue base ($54 billion last quarter vs. $50 billion for Google) and the wider profit margin (25% vs. 21%).
But Google has all the momentum. Let’s examine how these two tech powerhouses have performed in the four and a half months since both their share prices were above $700 in late September:
- Google shares are up 4.5%, touching an all-time high of $767 at one point. Apple shares have declined 37%, dipping to a year low of $439 last month.
- Google has added $13 billion in market cap. Apple has lost $222 billion in market cap.
- Google beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates. Apple’s earnings fell just short of estimates.
Does this mean Google is suddenly a better stock than Apple? No. Apple, in fact, has the much lower forward P/E of 9 (Google’s is 14). Apple shares seem destined for a comeback, while Google may be due for a correction as it nears all-time highs again.
What it does mean is that the gap between the two largest technology companies in the world is narrowing. Apple’s lead is safe for now. But Google is charging fast. If Apple doesn’t turn things around fast, this so-called rivalry may soon be less one-sided than it appears today.