2 Feb 2016

Google's owner takes top spot from Apple

12:53 pm on 2 February 2016

Alphabet - Google's parent company - has surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company after its latest earnings report.

Google's office in Brussels

Google's advertising revenue rose by 17 percent in the three months to December. Photo: AFP

The company posted net income of $US4.9 billion for the fourth quarter, an increase from $US4.7b a year ago.

The announcement sent its share price up 9 percent in after-hours trading.

That means that Alphabet is now worth around $US568b, compared with Apple which has a value of $US535b.

It is the first time that Alphabet has stripped out the results of its Google business - which includes the search engine and YouTube - from its "Other Bets" business, which includes more experimental ventures such as self-driving cars and internet balloon programs.

The figures show that the "Other Bets" lost $US3.6b in 2015.

But advertising revenue for Google rose by 17 percent to $US19.1b, in the three months to December as the number of ads, or paid clicks, rose.

Alphabet's claiming of the most value company title has been seen by some as a passing of the technology baton. Google apps and devices compete for market share against Apple iPhones.

The title of most value company in the US has been passed between technology companies for several decades.

Apple became the United States' most valuable company in 2010, when it dislodged Microsoft. Microsoft in turn overtook IBM two decades earlier.


Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs