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Dethroning Apple: Alphabet Now World's Most Valuable Firm Due To Strong Revenue Growth

Thanks to strong revenue growth in Q4, Google's parent company overtook Apple in after-hours trading.

[Photo: Flickr user David]

The king is dead. Long live the king.

Apple is no longer the world's most valuable company. Today, thanks to strong revenue growth across Google and other units, Alphabet has dethroned the maker of the iPhone and Mac.

In its fourth-quarter earnings report, Alphabet said it brought in $21.33 billion in revenue, up 18% year over year. In after-hours trading, that strong performance boosted Alphabet's stock to $792.23 for a market cap of $545.67 billion, as of this writing. Apple's after-hours market cap now stands at $534.02 billion.

This was Alphabet's first full quarter differentiating between Google and its so-called "other bets." Although it is reporting results separately, it's quite clear that Google still makes up more than the lion's share of the full company's revenue. In total, Google accounted for $21.178 billion in revenue, 99.3% of the total. Alphabet did not provide quarterly revenue for other bets, noting instead that the segment—which includes Nest, Calico, Google Ventures, Google X, Verily, and Google Capital—brought in $448 million for the full fiscal 2015.

Of that, the company said, Nest, Google Fiber, and Verily—formerly known as Life Sciences—were the primary revenue generators. All the others are pre-revenue, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said during a conference call to discuss earnings.

The "other bets" segments of the company accounted for an operating loss of $3.1 billion during 2015, Porat said.

Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, said that the company now has 7 billion-user tools. Joining the six that had already reached that milestone in the past—Google search, Android, Maps, Chrome, YouTube, and Google Play—is Gmail, which crossed the threshold during the fourth quarter.

Pichai also said that the next big drivers of growth at Google should come from machine learning and artificial intelligence. He noted that just last week, the company announced that its researchers had developed an AI system that was the first in history to beat human experts at the game of Go. That announcement was made, coincidentally, the day after Facebook said its own AI researchers were working on a system to beat human experts at Go.

Although Google has been making big steps in virtual reality, including having shipped, along with its partners, more than 5 million Cardboard VR viewers, it did not reveal much that was new about its VR efforts.

Pichai also lauded the strength of Google's mobile platforms, arguing that it is in a position to reach 5 billion users with those platforms.

"We want to be in a position where we are assisting users throughout the day with their information needs across all our products."

The History of Apple in Under 3 Minutes:

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