Google owner overtakes Apple as top global firm

Slowing iPhone sales have contributed to Apple's poorer performance
Slowing iPhone sales have contributed to Apple's poorer performance

Google owner Alphabet has knocked fellow US tech giant Apple off its top spot to become the world’s most valuable public company.

Alphabet posted a fourth-quarter profit of $4.9 billion (£3.4bn) on Monday, up from $4.7bn (£3.3bn) a year ago.

The announcement sent its share price up as much as 9% in after-hours trading on Monday night.

It means Alphabet’s market value stood at $555bn (£386bn), compared with Apple which is valued at $533bn (£371bn).

Though Apple reported record profits in its own financial results last week, the California-based firm predicted iPhone sales would decline for the first time in the device’s history in the next quarter.

Google reorganised itself under Alphabet last October, and this set of results is the first time the group split itself out into its two major divisions.

Google holds its lucrative businesses such as digital ad sales, search engine and YouTube.

The rest of Alphabet is made up of the group’s more experimental ventures such as self-driving cars and internet balloon programmes.

On an annual basis Alphabet’s other businesses, which it labels Other Bets business, lost $3.6bn (£2.5bn) during the period.

Google’s finance chief Ruth Porat hailed the “vibrancy of the business” during the announcement, with video-sharing site YouTube, as well as the widely used Google search engine, named as the core of the company’s growth.