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(Pocket-lint) - Google has overtaken Apple in terms of company value, at least according to one metric revealed by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the US paper, enterprise value can be rated by each company's market cap minus the net cash they have in their bank accounts. Company value is generally taken to be of market capitalisation, where net cash is added to enterprise value. However, Rolfe Winkler of the WSJ argues that banked cash does not represent each company's actual operations.

The market cap of Apple is $378 billion but net cash is $145 billion, so Winkler suggests that the value of the Cupertino giant's actual operations is $233 billion. Google's market cap is $286 billion, while its net cash is $45 billion, meaning that the value of its actual operations is $241 billion, $8 billion higher than Apple's and therefore technically a more valuable company.

Winkler puts the market capitalisation and net cash argument in simpler terms: "If you bought a house for $378,000, but there was $145,000 of cash lying on the living room floor, all you really paid was a net $233,000," he wrote. That would be the true value of the house, therefore.

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Even with the conventional financial metrics in place, Google is creeping up on its major rival and that can only be a good thing for the consumer as competition breeds innovation.

Writing by Rik Henderson.