Just two short weeks ago, a big hullabaloo was made when Apple’s stock hit the illustrious $500 per share mark. As of 1:00 PM CST today, Apple is sitting right around $544 per share, sending the Cupertino company’s net worth north of $500 Billion dollars for the first time in its history. This from a company that was worth just $10 Billion a decade ago. Apple, already the most valuable company in the world, joins an elite club of companies who’ve been worth $500 Billion. Only Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Cisco, and General Electric are in the club, none of which are currently valued above $500 Billion. Of these five, ExxonMobile has the highest current net worth of $410 Billion.
Putting the numbers in perspective, CNN Money notes that Apple’s valuation is higher than the Gross Domestic Product of Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, or Taiwan, and is still one of the fastest growing technology companies in existence. Apple’s 2011 sales were a whopping 73% higher than 2010 sales, with no signs of slowing down on the horizon.
With the iPad 3 all set to be released next week, as well as a rumored Apple TV refresh coming on or around the same time, Apple’s prospects of becoming just the second company (Microsoft) to hit the $600 Billion valuation mark is brighter than ever. With the iPad 3 rumored to bring significant performance improvements over the iPad 2, coupled with the fact that more and more consumers are willing to adopt tablet computers, we have a hard time seeing the iPad 3 being anything short of a major success story for Apple.
Unless Apple’s stock growth slows over the next 6 months, Apple could be well on the way to overtaking Microsoft as the highest valued company of all time. Whether you love or hate Apple, you have to appreciate the insane levels of success they’ve been able to achieve.