Apple most valuable company
Apple's market value climbed past $623 billion yesterday, surpassing the record set by Microsoft during the heyday of technology stocks in 1999.
Apple shares rose 2.6 per cent, bringing its gains this month to almost 9 per cent as Wall Street bets on the September 12th rollout of the latest version of the iPhone, the device that revolutionised the mobile industry.
Microsoft, however, retains the title of history's most valuable company if its 1999 peak value of about $621 billion were to be adjusted for inflation.
Apple's stock usually rallies in the run-up to major product launches, among the most heavily watched events on the annual tech calendar. The iPhone is the company's biggest product, yielding half or more of its sales.
Sources have said the company will take the wraps off a larger version of its iPhone on September 12th. Some analysts also think it intends to announce a smaller iPad to safeguard its market share, as rivals from Google to Amazon.com Inc begin selling cheaper, seven-inch tablets.
But Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi warned that questions remain about the availability of components for both the iPhone and the iPad, which in the past has constrained Apple's product shipments.
"A key question for the launch will be Apple's expected rollout schedule," the analyst wrote yesterday. "Apple's intention is to continue to ramp offerings as quickly as possible, but the company's ability to do so remains a key near-term question."
Apple's shares have risen 64 per cent in 2012. Yesterday, they closed at a session high of $665.15, conferring on the Silicon Valley giant a capitalisation of $623.5 billion, exceeding Microsoft's 1999 value of $620.8 billion, according to data provided by S&P Dow Jones Indices.
But Microsoft's value would rise to $853.7 billion after adjusting for rising prices, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation-calculator.
Apple overtook Exxon Mobil to reach the Number one spot by market capitalisation last year. Monday's move means it has now entered the record books as the biggest company ever, in terms of market value.
Apple climbed even as fellow technology heavyweight Facebook plumbed new depths. The world's biggest social network slid to a record intraday low of $18.75 yesterday morning before bouncing back to close just above $20 after Capstone upgraded the company's stock to buy from hold.
Separately, the chief executives of Apple and Samsung Electronics have talked but did not settle the high stakes patent dispute between the two electronics companies, a Samsung attorney said in court yesterday.
US district Judge Lucy Koh had requested that the two talk on the phone at least once more before the jury begins deliberating this week.
Apple and Samsung are going toe-to-toe in a patents dispute that mirrors the struggle for industry supremacy between the two rivals that control more than half of worldwide smartphone sales.
Apple accuses Samsung of copying the design and some features of its iPad and iPhone, and is asking for a sales ban in addition to monetary damages. South Korea's Samsung, which is trying to expand in the United States, says Apple infringed several patents, including some for its key wireless technology.
Top executives from both companies had participated in mediation with a US magistrate judge before trial, but Judge Koh asked them to explore settlement once again.