PATENT LITIGATOR Apple, despite feverish fanboi reports, has not become the most valuable company in the world, as its market capitalisation of $623.5bn is still eclipsed by that of Petrochina.
Apple's fans regularly trot out the firm's market capitalisation, which is the value of a single share multiplied by the number of shares available. Yesterday Apple's stock finished at an all-time high of $665.15, resulting in a market capitalisation value of $665.15bn, which some fanbois incorrectly claimed made it the most valuable company in the world.
In present day trading and thus ignoring inflation, Apple's market capitalisation doesn't top the charts, with Petrochina, a company traded in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai worth $722bn.
Apple's present market capitalisation might have taken it beyond Microsoft's 1999 value during the dot-com bubble, though that doesn't account for inflation, which would put Microsoft ahead by a good two hundred billion or so. Accounting for inflation, it is IBM that takes the honour of having the highest historical market capitalisation, with its 1967 share price resulting in a market capitalisation - adjusted for inflation - of $1.3tn, double that of Apple.
Apple's blinkered fanbois might like to quote its market capitalisation because it is a large, impressive-sounding number, but in reality it says very little about a company unless it is trying to find a buyer. Given that Apple isn't for sale, the cost of buying up all the shares outstanding today is a moot point and the fact that many commentators refer to Microsoft's dot-com inflated market value is a sign that Apple's value is similarly inflated.
Nevertheless, as Apple is revving up to launch the Iphone 5 and with strong rumours that Apple will introduce a smaller Ipad, its stock price and market capitalisation might remain high. µ