Categories: MacWorkspace

Apple Worth $600 Billion And Counting

The market value of Apple rose to a record $600 billion (£379bn) for the first time yesterday.

Apple, already the world’s most valuable company, achieved this just six weeks after passing $500 billion (£314bn) mark. Shares hit an all-time high of $644 (£404) on Tuesday morning, before retreating slightly.

Apple’s stock is up almost 60 percent since the start of the year.

Expensive Apples

Shares hit $644 during morning trading, making the entire company worth $600.4 billion. By midday, the share price went down and the stock closed at $628.44 (£394).

For comparison, Microsoft is currently worth $260 billion (£163bn). The company was worth $619 billion (£389) before the dot-com bubble burst in 1999. According to Businessweek, Apple’s market capitalisation is still well below Microsoft’s record if inflation is taken into account. The $619 billion in 1999 then becomes $846 billion (£531bn).

Only four other US companies have ever crossed the $500 billion threshold.

Apple has come a long way since 1997, when its shares were worth $3.19 (£2) and it faced the possibility of bankruptcy. Under the leadership of the late Steve Jobs, the company released a string of successful, innovative products starting with iMacs and progressing to iPods, iPhones and iPads.

Some analysts predict that Apple’s shares could sell for as much as $1,000 (£628) by 2014. Others think this growth cannot last. BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk downgraded Apple from “Buy” to “Hold” on Monday, telling Businessweek that the company’s profit margins are unsustainable. Phone companies are seeing their profits sapped by the subsidies they pay for the iPhone, Piecyk said, and are set to curb their upgrade policies and make it harder for people to trade up to the newest model.

At the end of last year, Apple revealed it had assembled $97.6 billion (£628bn) in cash. Earlier this month, the company announced plans to spend this mountain of money on paying a quarterly dividend to shareholders and buying back up to $10 billion (£6.3bn) of its own shares. This is likely to increase Apple’s value even further.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took home a record breaking salary package last year, adding up to £244 million in wages, bonuses and stocks.

Meanwhile, Apple’s Japanese competitor Sony has hit hard times, suffering record £4 billion losses and axing 10,000 jobs in an effort to stay afloat.

How closely have you been following the evolution of the iPhone? Take our quiz!

Max Smolaks

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.

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