Apple is No. 1 stock of all time

The company's shares are on a steep climb, making it the most valuable company ever, with a market value of more than $622 billion.

By Kim Peterson Aug 20, 2012 12:46PM
Updated 4:20 p.m. ET

With shares on fire ahead of some big announcements, Apple (AAPL) surged past Microsoft (MSFT) Monday to become the most valuable company ever.

Apple shares rose 2.6% Monday to close at $665.15 -- enough to push the company's market value to $623.5 billion. Microsoft rode the dot-com boom to hit a peak market cap of $618.9 billion on Dec. 30, 1999. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

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Of course, when you adjust the numbers for inflation, Apple still has a little way to go to beat Microsoft. On an inflation-adjusted basis, Microsoft was worth about $850 billion at its peak, The Associated Press reports. Now, however, Microsoft's market value is only about $258 billion.

Apple is already the world's most valuable company. It knocked Exxon Mobil (XOM) from its perch late last year and has since blown past the former leader. These days, Exxon is worth only about $406 billion.

Apple is cruising on an intense amount of hype for what may become its best-selling product: the next iPhone. The iPhone 5 is widely expected to be announced on Sept. 12, though Apple hasn't confirmed anything yet. One analyst, Craig Berger of FBR Capital, thinks the iPhone 5 will create $50 per share in profit for Apple over the course of its lifetime.

Also fueling shares is the expectation that Apple is developing a smaller, cheaper iPad tablet and new television-related products, perhaps a standalone TV, a set-top box, or both.

The world is expecting big news from Apple over the next year, and that is reflected in the share price.

More from Top Stocks

Aug 20, 2012 2:03PM
And to think i had at $28 per share and sold at $34 from bad advice.
Aug 20, 2012 2:50PM
Aug 20, 2012 6:17PM
I bought $1000 worth of shares when it was $32/per. I'm staying in for the long haul.
Aug 23, 2012 6:15PM
I bless the Jobs family every day.  I had faith and it sure paid off.   I am ashamed to tell you my cost.  I have 1200 shares.  
Aug 22, 2012 6:24AM
The story goes that some guy who was not familiar with the tulip bulb frenzy asked " what are these good for? "  and suddenly people opened their eyes to the foolishness of it all and the tulip bulb bubble burst.  Maybe some guy will walk up to the person sipping lattes and ask " what are you doing?" and they will reply" I am chatting with another fool who is sipping lattes across town. "  The guy will ask   " What are you chatting about? "  and the response will be " We are talking about our I-Pads and when the next  version will be available"   Then there will be a funny silence.
Aug 20, 2012 7:28PM
yaaaaahn: There's a great deal of difference between the Dutch tulip bubble and Apple's growth. The tulips bulbs only produced flowers, sometimes exotic looking flowers, which really had no value, whereas Apple continues to produce products that actually fit into our every day lives, whether for work or play. Go to any coffee shop in America and see how many patrons are sipping their lattes while typing away on their MacBook Pros. Walk along any city street and see how many people are chatting or texting on their iPhones. Go to any university, hospital, or place of business and see who's using an iPad. Apple products are simply EVERYWHERE because they're useful and have found a way to become an essential part of daily life; the same can not be said for the tulip craze in the Netherlands. So bad analogy. Or maybe not. Because there is a very clear differentiation between the tulip craze and the Apple craze. By the way, the tulip craze was limited in its geographical area of consumption. Apple? Not so much.
Aug 20, 2012 2:24PM
Aug 20, 2012 4:02PM
Does anyone else see a tulip bulb in this?  When you really look at Apples products, they are 90% fluff-   Gimmicks that no one really needs- little screens that spin around or expand by wiggling your fingers- communication between people who have nothing better to do because they are out of work.  Toys for adolescents who will stand in line for 3 days to get the newest version, but who  could not last 30 minutes chopping wood for a fire.  Shiny baubles that replace reality like a princess costume for a 4 year old.  I forgot the guy who got out of the stock market in 1929 because he was getting tips from his shoeshine boy, but it sure feels like its time to get out now.
Aug 20, 2012 4:26PM
Good goings. Keep all Chinese national and gov't happy
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