While the rest of you may be watching your portfolios crumble as the stock market goes haywire, Apple briefly passed Exxon Mobile today to become the largest publicly-traded U.S. company in terms of market capitalization and this was primarily due to the company’s success in the mobile space.
Reuters reports that Apple was valued at $341.5 billion today, just a hair above the $341.4 billion valuation of Exxon Mobile, which produces four times the annual revenue of Steve Jobs’ company.
The crazy thing is that it actually wasn’t that long ago that Apple was a joke and was slowly on its way down the drain. Steve Jobs’ return, an infusion of cash from rival Microsoft, redesigned hardware and software and the iPod success put it back on track but the introduction of the iPhone about four years was what really sent it on this rocket ship to the moon.
When it first introduced the iPhone, Apple said it would be happy to sell 10 million units in the first year but it recently sold more than 20 million iPhones in the last quarter to become the world’s largest smartphone maker. Analysts estimate it could sell at least 30 million iPhones next quarter thanks to the introduction of a new unit and iOS sales (iPad, iPod touch included) now account for more than half of its nearly obscene revenues.
That’s billions and billions of dollars per quarter for a business Apple wasn’t even in five years ago.
The competition is clearly starting to catch up in terms of quality of smartphone hardware and software, as even though I switched from Android to iPhone, I still believe there a lot of things that Android does better than iOS. The competition definitely hasn’t caught up to Apple in terms of making profits though and today’s milestone is just another sign of that.