Apple became the world’s first trillion-dollar public company on Thursday, as a rise in its share price pushed it past the landmark valuation.
The iMac to iPhone company, co-founded to sell personal computers by the late Steve Jobs in 1976, reached the historic milestone as its shares hit $207.05, the day after it posted strong financial results. Apple’s share price has grown fourfold since Tim Cook replaced Jobs as chief executive in 2011. The company hit a $1tn market capitalisation 42 years after Apple was founded and 117 years after US Steel became the first company to be valued at $1bn in 1901. It means Apple’s stock market value is more than a third the size of the UK economy and larger than the economies of Turkey and Switzerland.
While energy company PetroChina was cited as the world’s first trillion-dollar company after its 2007 flotation, the valuation is considered unreliable because only 2% of the company was released for public trading. Saudi Arabia’s national oil company Saudi Aramco could be worth up to $2tn upon its planned stock market float but the value is yet to be tested. This week’s rise in Apple’s share price was powered by quarterly financial results released on Tuesday that were better than Wall Street had expected.
The company racked up profits of $11.5bn in three months on the back of record sales that hit $53.3bn, pushing shares of the iPhone giant higher and easing the value of the company up from $935bn towards $1tn (£770bn). Amazon, which was regarded as the next most likely to breach the $1tn mark, was also left behind despite posting higher-than-expected profits last week. A fall in the retailer’s share price since then means it is now worth $883bn, while fellow tech giant Alphabet – Google’s parent company – is valued at $845bn.
Apple was co-founded in 1976 by Jobs, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak, who is credited with designing and building the company’s first desktop computer, the Apple I, which sold for $666.66.