Microsoft has become only the second US company to be worth more than $2 trillion (£1.4bn), beating Amazon into an ultra-exclusive club previously only occupied by Apple.

The Seattle-based computing behemoth soared just above the mark on Tuesday on the back of strong expectations for its booming cloud computing business.

Microsoft is set to be a key beneficiary of the Covid-induced changes that continue to ripple through the global economy, with chief executives planning for prolonged remote and hybrid work.

Even as many employees return to the office, chief executive Satya Nadella appears to be betting on permanently elevated demand for its Office 365 and Teams software suites and Azure cloud computing service.

It is only three years since Apple became the $1 trillion company in August 2018, and less than a year since the iPhone maker hit $2 trillion in the same month of 2020.

Dan Ives at Wedbush Securities said he was aware of increasingly large orders for Microsoft’s services and estimated that it had still only shifted about a third of its customers to cloud products.

"With workforces expected to have a heavy remote focus, we believe the cloud shift is just beginning to take its next stage of growth globally," he said. 

"Naturally Amazon Web Services as well as Google and others (IBM) will benefit, as we predict enterprise workloads on the cloud increase from 40pc today to 45pc by the end of 2021 and 55pc by 2022 … we estimate global cloud spending will approach $1 trillion over the next decade."

Last month, Microsoft’s co-founder and longtime former chief executive Bill Gates revealed that he and his wife Melinda were divorcing. 

Soon afterwards, Mr Gates’s money manager was accused of sexist and racist behaviour at work.