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Apple Inc. (AAPL): Buy It, Don’t Buy Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)?

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are passing ships, and not in a way that you’d probably expect.

Microsoft Corporation

At a time when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is shedding investors and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s hoping to wow the market with the operating system, mobile platform, and tablet it introduced late last year, sentiment may be shifting back in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s favor.

Lazard Capital Markets is initiating coverage of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) with a “buy” rating this morning, establishing a price target of $540.

Lazard analysts believe that the worst is behind the consumer tech giant. Sure, Android is eating its lunch and margins will continue to get squeezed, but have investors been approaching Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) the wrong way? Lazard offers up Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as a data storage play since it’s “instrumental in driving data creation in ways its competitors are not.”

Fresh bullish perspectives are always welcome, especially with Apple trading less than 3% away from its 52-week low.

On the other end of the opinion-o-meter, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch is talking down Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). After gluing itself to a “buy” rating on the stock for more than four years, Merrill Lynch lowering its rating to neutral. The original bullishness surrounded a massive stock buyback and the Windows 7 product cycle that didn’t pan out as planned. Things aren’t getting any better now that we’re several months into Windows 8.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) isn’t necessarily riding high with investors these days. Mr. Softy is trading closer to its 52-week low than its 52-week high at a time when some of the market gauges are hitting new highs. However, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s stock hasn’t fallen as hard as Apple has since peaking last year, even though Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Surface rollouts have fizzled out as catalysts.

Apple at least has one notable analyst backing it now. If only it could get jaded analysts and even more skeptical investors to follow along.

The article Buy Apple, Don’t Buy Microsoft? originally appeared on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, and Microsoft.

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