Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have fought each other for market share since the late 1970s. At various times, one has appeared to dominate the other. But in recent years, some investors have begun to believe that Apple will fall behind as its iPhone becomes commoditized and Microsoft emerges as a top player in the cloud. However, two emerging trends may give stockholders a case for sticking with Apple.

Despite their rivalry, both companies have enjoyed great success. Apple has amassed the world's largest market cap of around $2 trillion, while Microsoft has the second-largest market cap at $1.8 trillion.

Moreover, both have built cash hoards that all companies should envy. Apple holds $195.6 billion in cash on hand, offset by $112 billion in various forms of debt. Over the trailing 12 months, it generated $80.2 billion in free cash flow. 

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