US technology giant Apple has become the most valuable public company in history with its market value hitting $623 billion in intraday trading eclipsing Microsoft's record of $618.9 billion
Apple's market value Monday topped the record set by Microsoft Dec 30, 1999, at the height of the dotcom bubble, as its stock rose to new high of $664.74 per share, CNNMoney reported citing S&P's senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt.
The anticipated September launch of the new iPhone, coupled with rumours of a smaller iPad and a more feature-rich Apple TV have lifted the stock in recent weeks.
It is a stunning achievement for a company that was a struggling also-ran when Microsoft was setting records in the late 1990s, CNNMoney said, noting Apple was valued at less than $10 billion as recently as 2004, and at $100 billion just three years ago.
Since 2007, however, Apple has been an unstoppable force.
Co-founder of Apple Inc Steve jobs. File pic: AFP
Its iPhone business alone now brings in more money than Microsoft and the iPad has become a multi-billion dollar product for Apple.
Apple is on pace to be the world's largest technology company in terms of sales by the end of the year, and it is among the most profitable companies in the world, CNNMoney said.
In the last three months of 2011, Apple made $13 billion -- second only to ExxonMobil's record-setting $14.8 billion quarter from the fall of 2008, when oil prices were at an all-time high. Its growth continues unabated with Apple stock soaring 64 percent in 2012.
However, Microsoft still holds the record for most valuable company on the stock market if inflation is taken into account.
In 2012 dollars, Microsoft's all-time high would have amounted to $851 billion.
To hit that mark, Apple's stock would have to reach $908 per share, CNNMoney said.