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Many of us probably wish we could go back in time and invest in either Apple or Microsoft. But it turns out investing in the latter may have been way more profitable.
That’s according to new calculations put out by CNBC. A $1,000 investment in Apple on the day of its initial public offering (IPO) would be worth more than $420,000 today. But an investment of the same amount in Microsoft during its IPO would be worth more than $1.7 million.
It’s not exactly an easy calculation to make, either. At the time of Apple’s IPO in 1980, a $1,000 investment in contemporary money would be worth about $3,000 in today’s dollars. For Microsoft’s IPO in 1986, $1,000 translates to about $2,300 in today’s money.
Similarly, there are stock splits and dividends to add to the calculations as well. But we’ll assume that CNBC managed to crunch the numbers correctly.
This comes at an interesting time in Apple’s and Microsoft’s history, particularly as the latter company is once again toe-to-toe with Apple over its market valuation.
CNBC notes that Microsoft ruled the tech industry throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but its popularity began to falter in the 2000s. That’s largely attributable to several unpopular products and a relative failure to keep up with technology trends.
Of course, Microsoft has turned itself around. Just recently, it dethroned Apple as the most valuable public company in the world for a brief period.
Apple, on the other hand, had great initial success in the early 1980s but went through a volatile period through the rest of the decade into the 1990s.
That eventually led Apple to the verge of bankruptcy in 1997. In a last-ditch effort, Apple rehired co-founder Steve Jobs and named him CEO. Since then, Apple has become a titan in the tech industry — and in August, became the first publicly traded company to hit a $1 trillion market cap milestone.
As of the writing of this article, Apple had a market capitalization of $820.34 billion while Microsoft had a market cap of $820.25 billion.