Oh My God, Apple Just Passed Microsoft In Market Cap!!!! Wait. Nope.

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News is quickly spreading around the Internet today that Apple has passed Microsoft in market cap. The only problem? It’s not true.

We’ve been following this trend closely in recent weeks. Apple is indeed quickly closing in on Microsoft’s market cap, and we believe will pass it, but it won’t be today. Apple’s stock is at $266, giving it a market cap of around $241 billion. Microsoft’s stock is at $31, giving it a market cap of around $275 billion. Microsoft has just announced its earnings, and the stock is tanking (down almost 5% right now), but that still puts its market cap around $263 billion, over $20 billion ahead of Apple.

It looks like the source of the bad information is MarketWatch, which posted the headline, “Apple passes Microsoft for second place in S&P 500″ about 30 minutes ago (which is, technically, true — more on that in the update). Digital Daily then ran with the market cap story (post since deleted), then so did VentureBeat. With such a headline, obviously, the retweets spread quickly.

MarketWatch also humorously first stated that Apple’s market cap was $242 million (cue Dr. Evil).

If the stock price trends continue, Apple could pass Microsoft in value soon, but again, it hasn’t happened yet.

Update: MarketWatch has updated their story to say that Apple has passed Microsoft on the S&P 500 because it uses float-adjusted numbers. This method of running the numbers puts Apple’s cap at $241.5 billion while Microsoft’s is at $239.5 billion. But overall, Microsoft is still ahead of Apple.

Update 2: Digital Daily’s John Paczkowski tells me he only pulled the post down to correct it, which he did. You can find it here.

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