With its closing stock market value on Monday, Apple Inc. has become the biggest U.S. company, at $623.52 billion, taking away the crown held by Microsoft Corp. since its December 1999 market valuation at $616.34 billion – that's of course, not taking into account inflation.
Apple Inc.'s share price closed at $665.15 on Monday, and according to analysts quoted by WSJ, the company would command a $1,000 share price by the end of the year. Experts estimate that prices would need to be greater than $900 to surpass Microsoft’s 1999 record, after inflation. $1 in 1999 is worth around $1.38 in 2012, making Microsoft's 1999 valuation roughly $856 billion in constant dollars.
Also, as pointed out by TechCrunch, after adjusting for inflation, the biggest U.S. company of all time is IBM, whose record-breaking $192.3 billion market valuation in 1967 is now roughly equal to $1.3 trillion ($1 in 1967 is worth $6.85 in 2012).
Currently however, both previous record holders, IBM and Microsoft are struggling in the stock market, with share prices way below their peak values. Their market caps are currently $229.13 billion and $257.71 billion, while Google, another of Apple’s direct competitors, has a market cap of $220.92 billion. Apple's current nearest U.S. rival is Exxon Mobil, with a market cap of $405.97 billion.
Apple’s continued rise in the stock market has surprised a lot of investors, many of whom were afraid of dropping share prices after Steve Jobs’ death last year. Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook seems to have handled the transition well, though critics maintain that the fruity giant is slowing down in terms of innovation, not adding anything new to its product lineup since the iPad in 2010.
We’re currently awaiting the iPhone 5’s launch, which is expected to be on September 12. The only new expected entrant in Apple’s portfolio – the mini iPad – still doesn’t have a credible launch date however.