In the realm of technology, two titans stand head and shoulder above the rest: Microsoft and Apple. These tech giants have been locked in an epic battle for years, vying for supremacy in the market capitalization race.
While Apple held the top spot for much of the past decade, Microsoft has been making a strong comeback, and the two companies are now neck and neck. The question is: who will ultimately emerge victorious?
A significant contributor to Microsoft’s notable gains last year was its early foray into the generative AI market. The company, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, strategically invested $10 billion in the startup OpenAI in late 2022. The impact of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot was instrumental in igniting the current surge of interest in generative AI.
Microsoft is now methodically incorporating AI into its expansive consumer and enterprise technology portfolio. In a recent announcement, the company unveiled plans to introduce an AI key on its Windows PC keyboard. This innovative button is designed to activate Microsoft’s AI assistant, named Copilot, marking the first substantial modification to the keyboard in three decades.
Before this development, Microsoft had integrated Copilot services into its enterprise Office suite of apps on November 1 of the previous year. Leveraging generative AI, the tool provides suggestions and automates tasks within software applications such as Word and Excel.
Microsoft has reported that offering businesses access to generative AI tools has significantly contributed to increased sales for its Azure cloud-computing business, as highlighted in the company’s October earnings call.
Jefferies analyst Brent Thill recently designated Microsoft as a top pick for 2024. In a client note, Thill expressed confidence that applications in generative AI will play a pivotal role in reaccelerating growth for Azure, and the introduction of AI PCs could potentially stimulate a refresh cycle for personal computers.
Echoing this sentiment, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, in a December note, characterized the Copilot feature as a “game changer.” He underscored the transformative impact Microsoft’s AI initiatives will have in the industry.