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Businesses The Almighty Buck Apple

Apple Is Now the Most Valuable Company In History 398

derekmead writes "Apple, as of this morning, is valued at $621 billion, thanks to a stock price that spiked at $663.10 per share (and that has risen this afternoon). That finally beats Microsoft, who previously held the record for most valuable company in 1999 at $619 billion. Incredibly, Apple has almost doubled its valuation in the last year, when it topped Exxon-Mobil for most valuable American company with a valuation of $346 billion. It's not the cleanest comparison, but to give you an idea of how much $621 billion actually is, only 23 countries had a GDP higher than that in 2011. So, basically, Apple alone is worth more than what 200+ countries in the world could produce in an entire year."
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Apple Is Now the Most Valuable Company In History

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  • by Torinaga-Sama ( 189890 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:03PM (#41059627) Homepage

    Issac Newton knew a thing or two about apples. What goes up must come down.

    • It's that kind of thinking that doomed the quants to a footnote in the (stupid) economic history of the late 20th century.

      • by Torinaga-Sama ( 189890 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @06:04PM (#41060491) Homepage

        My pithy saying was gunning for +1 Funny, not +1 Insightful. I genuinely believe that Apple's influence has either peaked or is peaking. This doesn't mean that they aren't going to be the major player for a the foreseeable future. I find it unlikely that they will be able to maintain their rate of growth and if they start to grow much more vertically they are going to start getting a lot of unwanted government attention.

        Additionally, past the iPad there hasn't been a whole lot of innovation coming from them. They haven't showed up in the 7 inch market yet. That is not to see that they won't sell a bajillion iPad mini's when they drop, but that is going to come primarily from within the segment of the market that they already own. The iPod was a great device that had no peer so it got a ton of people on the platform. The iPhone was a great device that had no peer so it got a ton of people onto the platform. The IPad was a great device that had no peer so it got a ton of people onto the platform. The mini isn't even out yet but already there are bunch of peers on the market that work pretty darn well, so I think the opportunity there is missed. We will have to wait and see where Apple will be innovating from here out, but I am betting that there days of first to market are shortening.

        • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @07:23PM (#41061583) Journal

          Up to and including the iPad there hasn't been much innovation from them. They have just been better at waiting for other companies to blow themselves up trying to market cutting edge stuff until the bugs are worked out and then are great at marketing when they come out with a product using technology that has stabalized.

          iPod: they weren't the first digital music player or even the first with a mini-disk. But they were the first to have one that didn't suck because they waited. Same with iPhone: they weren't the first to allow surfing the net on your phone, that had been around for a while. They waited till bigger displays were available and bigger memory. Same with tablets. Tablets have been used for more than a decade. UPS and other couriers have had you sign for stuff on a tablet forever now. But Apple waited till better technology came around that didn't suck for the consumer.

          I personally don't have any clue why they are priced so high. They don't have leading market share of anything except the upwardly full of themselves Apple fanboy/fangirl market. They are way behind market share of both PCs and laptops. Android outsells them by miles. Like, WTF? Mind you, maybe investors already have some thoughts about droves of people running from Windows 8. Until those people find out how much Apple overcharges. Still it will be good for a spike in sales.

        • The iPod was a great device that had no peer so it got a ton of people on the platform.

          The Rio Karma was every bit competitive with the iPod.

          What Apple did was advertise. Outside of geekier circles, people didn't know there was a replacement for CDs out there... And when Apple told them, they became synonymous with it. A whole generation of people know MP3 players as iPods, and don't know that there's another name for them.

    • Really, then why did he get taken on the South Sea Bubble?

    • Bubble (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:04PM (#41059639)

    If you actually read right to the end of the article, it states that adjusted for inflation, Microsoft is still over $850 billion. So while Apple is a gigantic company, it hasn't broken any records.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm neither a PaidMicrosoftShill(tm) nor affected by the Apple Reality Distortion Field(tm)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If this is not a record, then let's restate it saying that Apple reached $621 Billion with a PE ratio of about 15-16. Microsoft set the record with $619 Billion with an PE ration of 88, about what Facebook had with all its hype. Adjusted for inflation, that $619 Billion record is something like $880 Billion. Yes, it was impressive.

      To put this in scope, the second place company in the US is Exxon Mobile, trailing Apple by $200 Billion. Only 9 companies have a valuation of over $200 Billion.

      The point is

    • Let us not forget about the first company to ever break the $1 trillion mark. That was the Chinese oil company PetroChina [] which did it on November 06, 2007 (I think that is the correct date it doesn't specify in the article so I used the date line). The value has since pulled back quite a bit to reasonable levels and most of the shares were still held by the government but it was the first company to hit the trillion dollar mark.
  • Inflation? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DarthBling ( 1733038 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:07PM (#41059673)
    I'm going to have to say no.

    Based in 2012 dollars, Microsoft's 1999 value of $619 billion would be equivalent to $851 billion today. Apple still has quite a ways to go.
    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      See an AC's reply above:

      "except Microsoft's high valuation was at the peak of the internet bubble meanwhile Apple's high valuation is at the nadir of the great recession...also Microsoft wasn't paying dividends then meanwhile Apple just paid they're first dividend."

    • by Wovel ( 964431 )

      Yeah, I guess that doesn't make as interesting a headline. That fact is buried in most of the stories.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      Both are tiny little fish compared to an establishment like "Standard Oil" which was well over a trillion, depending on who's imaginary figures you want to use.

    • Fortunately their market cap has grown at about 100% per year for 4 years now.

      They'll catch MSFT's inflation adjusted peak before Christmas.

  • East India Company (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:10PM (#41059715)

    What would be the value of the British east india company in today's dollars?

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      Better ask a tea leaf.

    • by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:26PM (#41059943)

      Comparisons with the British East India Company are tricky, mainly because the BEIC was a government corporation. The BEIC flew its own flag, maintained its own military, engaged in private warfare, and it's credit was backed tacitly by the British crown -- more like Fanny Mae, it Fanny Mae was a trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund that owned half the real estate on the Asian continent, and had an air force capable of starving a city.

      Even Shell or Exxon aren't really comparable enterprises.

      • Even Shell or Exxon aren't really comparable enterprises.

        Shell or Exxon aren't, but Saudi Aramco [] definitely is. I remember a story one of my professsors told us during a class on enterpreneurship (in the scientific field): he was working on a project for Saudi Aramco, and the price of petrol was temporarily down. He asked one of his superiors if that was causing them a problem. The answer "nah, this is only an issue for the small guys, like Shell."

      • by fm6 ( 162816 )

        The EIC didn't simply own a lot of land. They were effectively the sovereign rulers of India for about 80 years.

        However, you're wrong to call them a government corporation — John Company was founded and controlled by private individuals. If they'd been an arm of the British government, they probably would have had less power than they actually had.

      • I dont know what is more disturbing, the fact that Fanny Mae had an air force, or that you would name a trillion dollar company after Mae's vagina...

    • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:44PM (#41060217) Homepage Journal

      Donno but the South Sea Company in 1720 made a second round of stock offering and sold 1 million shares at 400 pounds each. That's 400 million pounds.

      Adjusted for inflation that's about 720 billion pounds, or in US money:

      1.2 trillion dollars

      And that's not even the whole company

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe Apple is more valuable than the British East India company, or any number of other ventures. You need to measure it in terms of global GDP at the time, or gold, or silver. All of these measures have their flaws (e.g., discovery of vast ammounts of gold in the New World distorted its value for a while). If you're just talking nominal US dollar value then fine; but that's not all of history. It's not such a simple thing to measure.

  • Not for long (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:12PM (#41059761)

    Apple is replaying their history during 90s.

    It's eerie, really. Soon after Macs began its success, MS sold their graphical OS through just about all hardware makers, Apple sued and lost, and Jobs's got ousted, and Apple shriveled up. Just replace "ousted" with "died" and MS/Windows with Google/Android.

  • It's hard to measure the value of private companies, but we should not ignore the fact that they do exists.

  • Not even close (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gattis ( 2711819 )
    Ever heard of the British East India Company?
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:17PM (#41059831)
    Facebook, a nothing income company that hasn't even found a working business model: IPO for 100 billion. Apple, a maker of expensive shiny trinkets, the largest market cap on the street. Benjamin Graham would have a lot to say about times like these. I sure hope most of your money is in bonds right now because this next one is going to hurt even more than the last one. But go on chumps, keep buying into the bubble. It's going to go up forever and we'll all be rich!
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      Benjamin Graham would have a lot to say about times like these.

      I don't think he would be pleased with FB which is virtually worthless, but APPL isn't all that bad at a PE ratio of 15. In the worst depths of the recession it hit 11 and at the peak of the credit bubble it was around 44. The real story is recently, like 2 years ago, the PE ratio was running around 20. Insane as it sounds, APPL revenue is growing much faster than their share price.

      Given a choice of govt bonds or savings account at roughly 0% or APPL at a PE around 15, eh, I'd chose APPL.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        If you're paying full price for your bonds you are doing it wrong. Just sayin'
      • Given a choice of govt bonds or savings account at roughly 0% or APPL at a PE around 15, eh, I'd chose APPL.

        I dunno about you, but I would choose AAPL [] instead of these guys APPL [].

  • Worth? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:20PM (#41059867)

    Let's not confuse what a company is worth with what a company costs.

  • wondering how long it will be before Apple has its own armed forces, but []...

  • I don't work for Apple or even particularly like Apple products (I had a phase, so I still own a couple older models). But I do enjoy the benefits of money flowing into Cupertino and other South Bay communities. Job market in Silicon Valley is good, not just tech jobs but even construction is picking up a bit. The state and local governments are still pretty financially messed up.

    But I do think one way to economic recovery is to make truck loads of money, then spend it. (sorry if that sounds like trickle-do

    • But I do think one way to economic recovery is to make truck loads of money, then spend it.

      That's the only way to economic recovery.

      • Why do you need truck loads of money in order to start spending? Can't you spend a little if you're making a little? One thing is certain, stock-piling a ton of money is one way NOT to help the economy.

  • Angry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @06:30PM (#41060857)
    And yet Apple contributes very little to the domestic US economy, i.e. no manufacturing jobs. What if Apple made its devices here in the US and accepted a value o 600 billion instead of 621 billion? I own Apple hardware but I hardly place Apple on any kind of pedestal.
    • Re:Angry (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @09:28PM (#41063037)

      Except for their 50,000 US employees. And the $4 billion a year the iOS app store sends out to independent developers, mostly in the US. And all those music industry people who make money from selling music on iTunes. There's a study that says Apple actually supports about 300,000 jobs in the US.

      Yes, they support a lot of manufacturing jobs overseas, but it's pretty silly to say they contribute little to the US economy.

  • In May I stopped by the Sunnyvale Main Post Office (which has been at its current location since 1975 and had a lease on the building through 2016) and found notices posted on the doors stating that they were moving to the northern edge of the city in two weeks. Turns out Apple was in such desperate need of additional office space they signed a build-to-suit agreement with the landlord, who presumably was paid enough money to make it worthwhile to exercise a termination provision in the lease and kick the P []
  • ...Time to start shorting Apple.
  • by Evil Pete ( 73279 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @10:49PM (#41063703) Homepage

    I smell a bubble about to burst. If the market is this hyped up anything less than a staggering improvement will cause disappointment. Maybe it will all be ok but I'd be selling right now.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter