Google leapfrogs Microsoft after latest hike in shares
Google has surpassed Microsoft to become the world's second-largest technology company as computing over the internet reduces demand for software installed on desktop machines.
Google rose 0.7pc to $759.98 (€590) a share for a market capitalisation of about $249.2bn. Microsoft, the world's biggest software-maker, fell 0.3pc to $29.67, about a $248.7bn valuation.
The milestone follows Google's rise from a search-engine invented by two Stanford University students into an advertising powerhouse that makes the world's most used mobile operating system and tool for digging up information on the web.
It also reflects the ascension of the internet as the delivery channel for more of the software and computing tasks that were once left to the Microsoft-dominated PC industry.
"The PC hardware business is obviously struggling," said Martin Pyykkonen a US analyst.
"The transition here is pretty straightforward in terms of where things have moved to and certainly that's cloud, that's web."
Only Apple, the world's most valuable company at $632.9bn, tops Google among technology businesses. Apple passed Microsoft in 2010 on rising sales of iPhones and iPads -- devices that helped usher in a new era of computing that's less reliant on PCs.
Google controls 66pc of the US search market, while Microsoft is a distant second at 16pc, according to ComScore. This year, Google is on track to displace Facebook in the US as the biggest outlet for display advertising, including banner ads, according to EMarketer.
Google will also remain number one for mobile ads in the US, EMarketer projects.
At the same time, Google's Android software powered 64pc of smartphones in the second quarter, up from 43pc in the same period a year earlier, according to Stamford, Connecticut-based researcher Gartner. Apple's software was a distant second at 19pc and Microsoft had just 2.7pc.
While Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft operates an online business including the Bing search engine, it still gets most of its revenue from the Windows and Office software used primarily on PCs.
Windows sales have slumped as some consumers opt for tablets instead of cheaper laptops running Microsoft's software. (Bloomberg)