Zynga, Facebook and Groupon all may be on the stock market ropes, but there’s one San Francisco Bay Area technology company that’s won all 12 rounds: Apple. The Cupertino personal computing giant won the title of “most valuable company of all time” on Aug. 20, when a market rally lifted the stock share to more than $662. That’s a market capitalization rate of around $623 billion. The previous record-holder, Microsoft, touched $616.3 billion during the Internet boom of 1999.
No sooner had the threshold been breached than market watchers jumped in to try taking some of the shine off of Apple’s crown. Microsoft still has a higher valuation in inflation-adjusted dollars, they said (and it does, at a market cap of around $850 billion). Petrochina, the Chinese oil company, reached an even higher valuation on the Shanghai stock exchange — $1 trillion. (Also true, but that exchange isn’t open, and Petrochina’s prices on the exchanges in New York and Hong Kong are under $500 billion.)
All of the naysayers’ caveats are true, but they don’t much matter. We say $623 billion is $623 billion — more than the GDP of Switzerland. And with a low price-earnings ratio and a new iPhone 5 rumored to come out this year, Apple’s stock might go higher yet. There’s plenty of time for the new champion to set another world record.
San Francisco Chronicle (Aug. 22)