Apple's market value exceeds Microsoft's during 1999 bubble

Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:26am EDT
 
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By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple Inc's market value climbed past $623 billion on Monday, surpassing the record set by Microsoft Corp during the heyday of technology stocks in 1999.

Apple shares rose 2.6 percent, bringing its gains this month to almost 9 percent as Wall Street bets on the September 12 rollout of the latest version of the iPhone, the device that revolutionized the mobile industry.

Microsoft, however, retains the title of history's most valuable company if its 1999 peak value of about $621 billion were to be adjusted for inflation.

Apple's stock usually rallies in the run-up to major product launches, among the most heavily watched events on the annual tech calendar. The iPhone is the company's biggest product, yielding half or more of its sales.

Sources have said the company will take the wraps off a larger version of its iPhone on September 12. Some analysts also think it intends to announce a smaller iPad to safeguard its market share, as rivals from Google Inc to Amazon.com Inc begin selling cheaper, seven-inch tablets.

But Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi warned that questions remain about the availability of components for both the iPhone and the iPad, which in the past has constrained Apple's product shipments.

"A key question for the launch will be Apple's expected rollout schedule," the analyst wrote on Monday. "Apple's intention is to continue to ramp offerings as quickly as possible, but the company's ability to do so remains a key near-term question."

Apple's shares have risen 64 percent in 2012. On Monday, they closed at a session high of $665.15, conferring on the Silicon Valley giant a capitalization of $623.5 billion, exceeding Microsoft's 1999 value of $620.8 billion, according to data provided by S&P Dow Jones Indices.   Continued...

 
People line up in front of an Apple store as they await sales of the new iPad in Munich in this file photo taken March 16, 2012. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/Files