Apple No Longer World’s Most Valuable Public Company

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

Follow on: Google +

Silicon Valley powerhouse lost 37 percent of value since September 2012

On Friday, Apple lost the title of the world’s most valuable publicly traded company to Exxon Mobil, after shedding 14.4 percent in share price – and over £50 billion in value – in just two days.

CEO Tim Cook shrugged off the news, and focused the attention of investors on the record results of the last quarter. “The only companies that report better quarters pump oil. I do not know about you all, but I do not want to work for those companies,” he told the audience at Apple’s Cupertino Campus.

The leaderboard

Exxon Mobil was the world’s most valuable public company from 2005 to 2012, when it lost this title to Apple and its record $656 billion value. But in the last few months, the Cupertino giant has failed to impress investors, despite posting $13.1 billion net profit for the fourth quarter of 2013 and selling more iPhones and iPads than in any previous quarter in its history.

Previously, some overly optimistic analysts predicted that Apple could become the first public company to break the $1 trillion limit. Enthusiasts had even started a website ‘Things Apple Is Worth More Than’, which stated that Apple was bigger than the entire 1977 US stock market, and worth more than annual worldwide lottery sales.

However, Apple shares have fallen 37 percent since the record high last September, while Exxon Mobil has been steadily increasing in value. At the close on Wall Street on Friday, Apple had a market value of $413 billion, against Exxon’s $418 billion.

CEO of the company Tim Cook seemed unfazed by the share price, and congratulated employees on the work well done, saying “we just had the best quarter of any technology company ever.” According to 9 to 5 Mac, Cook had also put the final nail in the coffin of the ‘cheap iPhone’ rumours, saying that Apple will continue to focus on providing premium products and not chasing market share.

During the Friday meeting, the CEO reported on the work to improve working conditions at Apple’s suppliers. A few days ago, the company published its annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, in which it outlined efforts to stop underage employment and worker abuse at the contract factories that make iPhones and iPads.

Some analysts have suggested that the value drop has little to do with the performance of the company, and more with high frequency trading algorithms.

In related news, jOBS, the film based on the life and times of Apple’s deceased CEO, has just seen its premiere at the Sundance festival in Park City, Utah. It will arrive in UK cinemas on 19 April.

Co-founder of the company Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak has previously criticised some aspects of the film, saying that it credited Jobs with ideas that didn’t originate at Apple. It should be mentioned that Woz is contributing to another film about Jobs, based on the official biography.

How well do you know Apple? Take our quiz!