THINK different was the company slogan. Now Apple can emphatically show the value in doing so. Fuelled by the phenomenal success of the iPad and iPhone, the technology giant has officially become the most valuable company in the world - ever.
Shares in Apple, which is listed on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange, rose past $660 in early trading taking its stock to a new height and its market capitalisation to more than $619bn (€500bn).
Apple is now worth around $200bn more than the world’s second biggest company, Exxon Mobil. The oil major is worth a mere $405bn.
The record for the most valuable company had been held by Microsoft whose market capitalisation hit €616.3bn at the height of the dot.com bubble in December 1999, according to Howard Silverblatt, an S&P index analyst in America. Now Apple’s iPhone revenues generate more than Microsoft itself, according to analysts. Apple is worth more than Microsoft combined with Google.
The recent rise in Apple’s shareprice has been fuelled by expectation that a new version of the iPad will be launched in September.
But the record follows an extraordinary rise in Apple’s shareprice and market dominance. The company, which traditionally lagged behind Mircosoft in innovation, was worth $10bn eight years ago and $100bn just three years ago. The stock is up around 60pc this year.
Last week analysts at Jefferies issued a target price of $900 a share on Apple. Others have predicted the company will be the first to top $1trillion market capitalisation.
However, some analysts are more pessimistic. Concerns have persisted that the company’s innovative abilities will suffer following the death of Steve Jobs last year.
Van Baker, vice president of Gartner Research, said: “All the products made under [Apple chief executive] Tim Cook’s tenure have been tweaks to existing products. One of the companies’ big successes, the iPod line, is in decline and they are going to have to replace that.”
Apple is reportedly planning a first foray into television, possibly by producing a set-top box in conjunction with a cable television company. But Mr Baker added that the would be “a challenging dance for Apple,” because the margins are so low, and content producers would wary of joint-ventures that could reduce their revenues.