The downgrading of the United States' sovereign debt by rating agency Standard means that several companies in the US effectively have a higher credit rating than the government itself.
Microsoft is one of just four companies, according to a Business Insider report, that have retained their AAA credit rating. The others are Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson and Automatic Data Processing.
The trend away from the hightest effectively 'risk free' AAA credit rating in the US has seen the number of companies fall from around 70 in the 80s' to half that in 1995 and just four today.
S&P said that the rating agency was not considering downgrading the remaining firm's ratings despite a policy of not rating companies higher than their native country's rating.