SMARTPHONE AND TABLET MAKER Apple has for the first time become the most valuable company in the US, surpassing even the wealthy oil companies.
The Cupertino-based company rose to the top of the stock market last night, surpassing oil company Exxon Mobil Corporation briefly before falling slightly to just below it, according to the Associated Press.
At the time of writing Apple's market capitalisation value remains at $347bn, while Exxon's value is still hovering around the $348bn mark, setting the companies pretty much neck and neck.
Exxon's stock fell early yesterday, helping Apple's brief rise to the top spot, so the possibility that this could happen again over the coming days is strong, particularly with the uncertain situation surrounding oil supplies across the world.
In fact, there is potential for Apple to fly past Exxon, particularly with the rumoured September release of the Iphone 5 approaching fast. This could push Apple's stock up considerably this Autumn and leave Exxon trailing behind.
It's also important to note that as of market close yesterday Exxon's stock value recovered and went up around two per cent, but Apple's went up close to six per cent. Apple's individual shares are also worth a lot more, at around $375 each, compared to $72 for Exxon's.
The high price of many of Apple's products is a likely contributor to its rapid increase in value. Many consumers seem unphased by the steep price tags on Mac computers, Ipods, Iphones and Ipads, nor indeed the proprietary connections that they involve, which help ensure that customers continue to buy Apple products.
This raises the question of whether people think Iphones and Ipads are more important than oil, which can drive the prices of nearly every product up due to our dependence on it for transport and energy. However, the recent high cost of oil, particularly with the unstable global economic climate and turmoil in oil-rich countries like Libya, could help Exxon recover its dominance.
Microsoft was one of the first major technology firms to become the most wealthy company in the US in 1999. It fell into second position over the past decade, but was pushed out of that spot by Apple last year. Exxon and General Electric have traditionally been fighting for the top position over the years, but it looks like Apple is set to become the Microsoft of this decade. µ