Apple’s market capitalization surged past the $500 billion mark today as the company’s stock price hit $542 per share. Due in large part to the rumors swirling around the iPad 3, Apple’s stock has been on a dramatic upswing in recent weeks.
Hitting the $500 billion mark cements Apple’s place as the most valuable company in the world. Apple took the top spot last year when it passed Exxon Mobil. Apple now has a $93 billion lead over Exxon. This is the first time since the last recession that a company has reached $500 billion market value.
2011 was a record year for Apple. Last quarter they generated $46.33 billion in revenue, over twice that of long-time rival Microsoft. The iPhone business alone generated more money than all of Microsoft, and indeed more than all the rest of Apple’s business. With the much-anticipated iPad 3 launching next week (and maybe a new Apple TV too), a new iPhone coming sometime later this year, and maybe even an iTV on the way, Apple’s upward climb stands a pretty good chance of increasing in the coming year.