Apple the Most Valuable Company — Ever

When shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) hit an intra-day high of $664.74 earlier today, the company's market cap hit $623 billion. That topped the previous record market cap of $618.9 billion reached by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) at the end of 1999. Microsoft still holds the inflation-adjusted lead, with an $851 billion market cap in 1999 based on 2012 dollars.

Another comparison: Apple's profit of $13 billion in the last quarter of 2011 was second only to the $14.8 billion profit put up by Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) in the fall of 2008 when crude oil prices were at all-time highs of over $140/barrel.

To catch Microsoft in the inflation-adjusted race, Apple stock needs to rise to $908/share. Last Friday an analyst at Jefferies pushed his target price on Apple to $900/share. That price is based on a successful introduction for an iPad mini (which Apple has neither confirmed nor denied that it is building) and some serious improvements in Apple TV that will require consumers to buy iPhones and iPads in order to use.

Apple's shares are a little cooler now, up slightly more than 2% on the day, at $661.26. The previous 52-week range had been $354.24-$648.19.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Consumer Electronics, Hardware, HI/LOW, PC Companies Tagged: AAPL, featured, MSFT, XOM