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Mobile Means Money for Apple: Highest Market Cap of U.S. Companies



Today Apple pulled ahead of Exxon Mobil, the large oil company, to become the U.S. company with the highest market cap. In short, while the economy is taking a nosedive, Apple is the U.S. company with the most money invested in it.

The poor performance of Exxon Mobil is the reason Apple jumped ahead today, but it’s far from the only reason Apple got to this point. The answer to why Apple has tons of money invested in it is twofold: the growth of mobile and the company’s focus on the end-user.

Since the first iPhone was announced in 2007, Apple has seen major growth thanks to the mobile market space. You can see the trend in the Apple (AAPL) Market Cap chart below.

Apple Market Cap Chart

Apple Market Cap Chart for past 5 Years

During this time period, there has been a sharp uptick in the adoption of smartphones, with up to one in three adults owning a smartphone as they come off contract with feature phones. It is possible that we’ll see the use of smartphones, like the iPhone, overtake feature phones before the year ends. The release of the iPhone 5 can only hurry this along.

Thanks to a major focus on the overall user experience, which runs from product design and packing to the user interface and device ecosystem, Apple was most recently able to sell 70 iPads and 156 iPhones a Minute in Q3. While the competition is activating over a half million Android handsets a day, those profits go to a collection of companies, instead of a single entity. It also doesn’t hurt that Apple is able to match and beat the competition on price in the mobile arena.

Compared to other technology companies, Apple is also doing quite well in terms of Market Cap. Check out the chart below comparing Apple’s market cap to Microsoft, Dell, HP and Google. Pay close attention to Microsoft’s performance from 2008 and on.

Apple Market Cap versus tech competition

Apple Market Cap versus tech competition

It will be interesting to see if Apple can hold on to the title when the market rebounds from its current dip that has hurt oil and other companies so hard.



  1. Tim

    08/10/2011 at 3:54 am

    It’s great that Android profits go to a collection of
    companies- Android diversity overwhelms iPhone conformity. Windows computer
    makers Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, HP, Gateway, etc. etc.- some still around, some
    gone away, and Windows continue to be used by most people. Although, Mac was
    ahead of Windows in the beginning, Windows pulled ahead of the Mac.


    iPhone’s significance in mobile and with it, Apple’s big
    money days tied to the iPhone, are numbered, with Android’s growing bigger than
    iPhone. Android continues rapid growth while iPhone has generally stalled. Apple’s
    outsized market capitalization erodes alongside iPhone’s increasing irrelevance.

  2. Phil Hunter

    08/25/2011 at 6:15 pm

    Jobs picked a good time to announce his resignation. Apple stock is all over the financial news and since they passed Exxon as the highest market cap stock on the market, Jobs is leaving on top. But being top dog sometimes has it’s downsides. Let’s see what happens when the GDP numbers come out this Friday.

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