The status of Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL as one of the behemoths of world commerce is not in doubt. But the recent performance of the consumer electronics giant has brought the sheer size of the company into even sharper focus.
Over the last couple of days, Apple achieved a world record market capitalization of $700 billion. The company was already constantly considered the most valuable on the planet, but with this new market cap having been achieved, Apple is now effectively more valuable than Switzerland.
The Gross Domestic Product of the gold-associated nation is around $631 billion, meaning that Apple’s market cap is around 10 percent higher than a nation which boasts one of the best standards of living in the world.
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Apple – the 20th largest nation
In fact, if Apple was a country instead of a company it would be the 20th largest on the planet. Currently, Apple’s market capitalization means that it is marginally smaller than oil-rich Sadi Arabia. But the overwhelming majority of countries on the planet are significantly poorer in fiscal terms than the manufacturer of the iPhone and iPad.
To put this position into perspective, there are 194 nations listed in the United Nations’ assessment of the world’s largest GDPs. This would mean that if Apple were a nation, it would be only just outside of the top ten percent of economies on the planet.
Apple is already larger than numerous European nations, established economies and resource-rich countries. For example, Apple already outranks in economic terms the European nations of Sweden, Norway, Poland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Finland, Portugal and Ireland. It is also bigger than the oil-rich Iran and United Arab Emirates. And it outranks other significant economies such as the diamond-associated South Africa, and one of the most advanced and historically and culturally rich nations in South America, Argentina.
Of course, there is a difference between market cap and GDP, but this is nevertheless an incredible feat, it seems a long time ago now that Apple’s share price took a bit of a kicking when its early sales results this year were less rosy than expected. Since then, Apple has gone from strength to strength, firstly correcting its fiscal results in the very next quarter, and moving into new product lines with the iPhone 6 Plus and forthcoming Apple Watch.
Sales of Apple products continue to be extremely impressive. The company’s flagship smartphone the iPhone 6 sold like hot cakes, while early figures related to the iPad Air 2 tablet suggest that it has also done tremendously well. Many Apple fans are waiting with anticipation for the release of the first Apple smartwatch early in 2015, and Apple Pay promises to corner the mobile payment market based on current data.
Apple stock heads skyward
All of which adds up to the situation in which Apple’s stock has climbed significantly. It was wondered for some time whether Apple shares could break through the psychologically important $100 barrier, and this has been answered emphatically in recent weeks. Apple stock is now trading close to record high levels, and many analysts believe that it is an inevitability that the stock will go still higher.
Forbes, an authoritative documenter of world commerce, as long since ranked Apple as the most valuable company on the planet. Additionally, Forbes also rates Apple as the worlds most valuable brand; the two pretty much go hand-in-hand.
But the Forbes listings from the last time it compiled the world’s top corporations indicates just how much Apple has grown under the tutelage of its CEO Tim Cook. Forbes assesses the market capitalization of Apple to be around $483 billion when it last published the world’s top corporations, meaning that Apple has grown by nearly 50 percent since this list was released.
In fact, figures reported on Wednesday indicate that Apple has doubled in size since Cook became the CEO of the company, just over three years ago.
$1 trillion market cap
With Apple having smashed through the $700 billion barrier, the prospect of becoming the world’s first company with $1 trillion capitalization now becomes a realistic possibility. Indeed, based on their recent performance, if Apple can maintain the same level of growth, but this could be achieved as early as 2016.
The achievement of Apple is perhaps best put into perspective by the companies it leads on this prestigious Forbes ranking. Exxon Mobil, Google, Microsoft, Walmart, General Electric and JPMorgan Chase all trail behind the consumer electronics giant in terms of market capitalization. Using its sophisticated matrix, Forbes has also calculated that Apple is ranked the 15th biggest corporation on the planet. This is no mean feat for a company that sells electronic gadgets primarily, and is particularly remarkable considering that Apple appeared to be heading nowhere during the 1990s.
One particular joke in The Simpsons has backfired significantly in hindsight, when the writers of the program poked fun at the decline of Apple by having a teenage character express his lack of comprehension of what Apple Computers was during an episode in 1996. It would be fair to say that most adolescents today will have heard of Apple! The Simpsons acknowledged the evolution in the status of Apple by having a thinly disguised parody of the company take a central part in a later episode.
The future’s bright…the future’s Apple
Not only is the present being extremely kind to Apple, but the future also looks bright as well. There is no consumer electronics company that is even coming close to rivalling Apple at this point in time, as its major competitor, Samsung, has been going through a tough time lately. It is rather easy and demonstrative to juxtapose the recent fortunes of the two companies to underline this; while Apple is smashing market capitalization records, Samsung was forced to announce a 60 percent profit slump.
With new product lines on the horizon, and the hotly tipped Apple Pay still up its sleeve, there seems to be no end to the Apple success story at this point in time. Of course, all bubbles burst sooner or later, but at this moment the Apple bubble is set to inflate still further.