While Apple (AAPL) flirted with passing Exxon Mobil (XOM) as the country’s most valuable company earlier this year, the selloff the past few weeks has seen Apple’s stock hold up relatively better – especially in the past few days – and as of yesterday’s close we have a new market cap leader. While largely symbolic, it is quite remarkable for a company which some 14 years ago (almost to the day) needed a cash infusion from Microsoft to keep ticking.
- Aug 6, 1997 – In a remarkable feat of negotiating legerdemain, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs got needed cash ($150M) — in return for non-voting shares — and an assurance that Microsoft would support Office for the Mac for five years. Apple agreed to drop a long-running lawsuit in which they alleged Microsoft copied the look and feel of the Mac OS for Windows and to make Internet Explorer the default browser on its computers — but not the only choice.
- Apple finished with a market value of $337 billion, beating Exxon’s $331 billion. Apple occupies a rarefied spot once held by General Electric and Apple’s own rival Microsoft.
- Exxon and General Electric had been trading off the No. 1 and No. 2 spots until Microsoft surpassed them both in early 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom. By 2000, though, GE was No. 1 once again.Exxon had held the top spot since 2005.
- Apple grew its net income 70 percent to $14 billion and its revenue 52 percent to $65 billion in the fiscal year that ended last September. A year earlier, even as other companies — though not Exxon — were reeling from the economic meltdown, Apple’s earnings grew 35 percent and its revenue 14 percent.
- In its latest quarterly report, Apple said stronger iPhone and iPad sales helped more than double its net income to $7.3 billion and grow revenue by 82 percent to $29 billion. Exxon Mobil, meanwhile, posted a 41 percent increase in its second-quarter earnings to nearly $11 billion, the largest since it set a record of nearly $15 billion in the third quarter of 2008. Its revenue grew 36 percent to $125 billion.