Apple was, briefly, the biggest company in the world

For a brief time today Apple was the biggest company in the world. According to Wired.com, a boost in stock prices today following a massive sell off on Monday caused Apple to have a market capitalization of $344.21 billion, ahead of oil company Exxon Mobile at $344.09 billion. However, at the close of the stock markets today, Apple's market capitalization came in at 346.74 billion but didn't beat Exxon Mobile's numbers of $348.32 billion.

For those who might not know, a company's "market cap" can be easily figured out by taking the price of a company's stock and multiply it by the total of a company's outstanding shares. Apple is by far the biggest tech company in the world in terms of its market cap; it surpassed Microsoft's numbers in the summer of 2010. Ironically, it is Microsoft, and not Apple, that has a AAA credit rating from Standard and Poor's, one of four US companies that currently holds such a rating (but not the US government).

As we have reported before, Apple not only has a high stock price and a large market cap, it also has a ton of cash that the company is just sitting on at the moment. In its latest financial results, Apple confirmed it has a whopping $76.2 billion in cash on hand that could support the company for several years even if it didn't generate one cent of revenue. In other words, Apple is doing just fine, thank you very much.

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45 Comments

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The central banks of the world are the largest companies. Even the federal reserve is privately owned with shareholders and everything. Solo, THEY are and have been the biggest for almost 100 years

the problem with apple, they don't have a lot of diversity,and they're living or dieing from one or two products only. Everyone saw the success of iphone, and people are buying stock,and the price is shooting higher every day. I wouldn't say the stock is overvalued, because right now Apple is hot, but it is very risky. And that's how people lose in the stock market. What happens to Apple as a company when and if the iphone loses its place in the market? The whole company dies. Thats the risk, and I wouldn't touch it.

Apple seems extremely overvalued. They make phones and a little bit of computers. How are they worth this much?

mrp04 said,
Apple seems extremely overvalued. They make phones and a little bit of computers. How are they worth this much?

Total earnings = profit per item sold * number of items.

Microsoft may sell Windows to 95% of PCs, but it only makes $20-30 per copy. People hate them for it and call it a Microsoft tax.

ExxonMobil sells zillions of barrels of oil, and zillions of gallons of gasoline. But they only make a few dollars per barrel, and a dime a gallon. For going to the trouble of supplying the economy with fuel, ExxonMobil is vilified as an evil greedy oil companies.

Apple sells tens of millions of iPhones, but it makes $200 in profit on each one. For this, they are much-loved and greatly-worshipped. Teenagers succumbing to peer pressure to buy Apple products are thinking "different."

mrp04 said,
Apple seems extremely overvalued. They make phones and a little bit of computers. How are they worth this much?

1. Demand for their products - you always hear about the shortages at the retail level despite record volumes with each new product Apple launches. Remember how ipad 2 3G was sold out and stores could only offer wifi version - this happens all the time.
2. Profitability.
3. Well thought-out business model and a complete eco-system (iTunes).
4. Talent (Steve Jobs) - although this could probably be #1 reason.

zhiVago said,

1. Demand for their products - you always hear about the shortages at the retail level despite record volumes with each new product Apple launches. Remember how ipad 2 3G was sold out and stores could only offer wifi version - this happens all the time.
2. Profitability.
3. Well thought-out business model and a complete eco-system (iTunes).
4. Talent (Steve Jobs) - although this could probably be #1 reason.

Are you somehow suggesting that Apple management can't accurately predict the demand their products will generate? If you control the supply of the product, and it has an absurd demand, you only make it seem worth the value. I respect Apple as a company because of what they do right in terms of management, and the artifical equilibrium of demand and supply they produce is just a marvel of capitalism. Though, its also pretty ****ty from a social perspective.

I guess a couple of the Apple employees had to fill their cars up today to get to work so that Exxon back over the top.LOL

They'll need every penny to sue competition who is out-innovating them and when Jobs is gone so they can last as much as they can before they start going down. Jobs' absence is already becoming visible with the OSX Lion and FCPX mess.

And market cap doesn't mean anything. Easy come easy go when the company relies on 2 products for most of their revenue.

If I were a stock holder for Apple I would probably be selling, Steve Jobs is so integral to the brand it is scary. Without Steve the brand falls, with Steve it sky rockets and exceeds expectations.

I am surprised they haven't tried to present "insert name here" as the new "man" behind Apple.

spudtrooper said,
when can we unsubscribe from seeing apple crap on the home page?

When people stop having an interest I guess. It was obviously an interest to everyone here commenting...

SK[ said,]

When people stop having an interest I guess. It was obviously an interest to everyone here commenting...

Well, these articles about Market Cap are getting boring, since one seems to come out every couple of days. The only reason it gets a lot of comments is because it's apple.

If only I could go back in time to high school in the '90s, when Apple was at its lowest, and show this to all those PC fanboys who mercilessly mocked my interest in Apple...

Nah. All those dorks probably have an iPhone now anyway

lunarworks said,
If only I could go back in time to high school in the '90s, when Apple was at its lowest, and show this to all those PC fanboys who mercilessly mocked my interest in Apple...

Nah. All those dorks probably have an iPhone now anyway

You got cyber bullied by PC users?

I guess...

I'd make fun of someone using a Kin, but that doesn't really prove anything if Microsoft suddenly comes out with some cool new tech. Oh hey, I supported this company when they made this crappy stuff, but now they made this cool stuff, I'm justified for back then.

I don't think it works that way.

lunarworks said,
If only I could go back in time to high school in the '90s, when Apple was at its lowest, and show this to all those PC fanboys who mercilessly mocked my interest in Apple...

Nah. All those dorks probably have an iPhone now anyway

Apples success as a business comes from overcharging their companies and high profit margins, not large marketshare. Check marketshare stats and you will get a more realistic figure of which companies are actually mroe predominant in the market.

Also, I use a MBP and an iPhone, don't have a bitch at me for being too poor etc etc. If I use a company's product I use the company's product, I don't form an allegiance or a dependence on that company.

These things don't matter AT ALL. Microsoft was over $600 billion in 1999, and less than a third, in couple of years.
Cisco was over $555.4 billion in 2000. By 2001 it was $151 billion. Today it is $77.31 billion!

FMH said,
These things don't matter AT ALL. Microsoft was over $600 billion in 1999, and less than a third, in couple of years.
Cisco was over $555.4 billion in 2000. By 2001 it was $151 billion. Today it is $77.31 billion!

Considering both Microsoft's and Cisco's lasting impact on the industry, I wonder what Apple's legacy (when it comes to pass) will be.

FMH said,
These things don't matter AT ALL. Microsoft was over $600 billion in 1999, and less than a third, in couple of years.
Cisco was over $555.4 billion in 2000. By 2001 it was $151 billion. Today it is $77.31 billion!

do you know how news works? someone notices something and takes it out of context and people are wowed by it. it doesn't have to matter.

FMH said,
These things don't matter AT ALL. Microsoft was over $600 billion in 1999, and less than a third, in couple of years.
Cisco was over $555.4 billion in 2000. By 2001 it was $151 billion. Today it is $77.31 billion!

I wonder what that would be, adjusted for inflation/devaluation of the dollar.

Enron said,

I wonder what that would be, adjusted for inflation/devaluation of the dollar.

It was the tech/dot-com bubble that burst. Analysts over-estimated the demand of products by a very wide margin, from these two tech companies.
And Cisco and Microsoft were playing the right cards, one after the another, something like what Apple is doing today. And gave investors a false positive outlook. That's why Apple's future is widely debated among analysts. Apple NEEDS to keep their consumers with them, and have to keep the competition at bay all the time. One fail release of a major product, and the empire would come crumbling down.

Anotherly, when tablet market is studied, most analysts agree that Apple will most certainly come below 40% market share in a few years. And Android will lead. BUT not one of those papers have yet discussed the effects of Windows 8! Their excuse for that is, that they can't comment on a project that is unreleased and of which we know so little about. So Apple is in far deeper trouble than so far acknowledged.

capr said,

do you know how news works? someone notices something and takes it out of context and people are wowed by it. it doesn't have to matter.

You are right.

evn. said,
Considering both Microsoft's and Cisco's lasting impact on the industry, I wonder what Apple's legacy (when it comes to pass) will be.
Provider a really shiney niche products.

rmal1 said,
It's called "ExxonMobil" - Exxon (Petrol/Gas) + Mobil (Engine/Motor Oil).
No "Mobile" in sight....

The Exxon Mobile is Exxon's response to the iPhone.

Careful where you show that money, Apple. That $76.2 billion will be seized in order to pay down the national debt.

Enron said,
Careful where you show that money, Apple. That $76.2 billion will be seized in order to pay down the national debt.
Is it possible in US?

Enron said,

It was a joke, but anything is possible with the crazy government we have these days.

In some countries it can happen legally. The government can forcefully buy a company, for much less, than what it actually costs, and install their own adminstration in it.
In Economics, this power is given to government to just control inflation. But ofcourse, this power is just abused.

Enron said,
Careful where you show that money, Apple. That $76.2 billion will be seized in order to pay down the national debt.

No doubt they could take a one-off percentage of profits from companies over a certain size. 25% or so. Would sort out the crisis

Enron said,
Careful where you show that money, Apple. That $76.2 billion will be seized in order to pay down the national debt.

It's a funny comment. However $76.2 billion really wouldn't do that much to pay down our national debt.

Dessimat0r said,

No doubt they could take a one-off percentage of profits from companies over a certain size. 25% or so. Would sort out the crisis

No it wouldn't, companies would pass on the cost to consumers. Business 101