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For years Apple led the race to be the world’s most valuable public company thanks to the huge profits it generated. However, powered by cloud computing, its competitors are now in hot pursuit. As Therese Poletti points out in her latest MarketWatch column, both Microsoft and Amazon have recently managed to take the lead, albeit briefly. Google-owner Alphabet is not far away either. The battle between “steady and solid cash and earnings” from Apple and potential growth from the cloud is then in full swing, but what will investors back? Investors betting on Apple’s competitors for the top spot are not looking at results, however, as much as growth rates and tech trends. Namely, the growth of cloud computing, which is dominated by the other three companies at the top of the valuation list. The two companies closest to Apple’s spot are reporting huge growth in their cloud-computing businesses, where they offer cloud services for a huge range of customers, large and small. Staid old Microsoft, which has never been an official part of the much-vaunted FAANG grouping of tech stocks, surged into a zone of its own this year, propelled by hefty growth in the cloud.