At $622B, Apple becomes all-time most valuable company

The iPhone maker sees its market cap hit $622 billion, beating the world record of $618.9 billion for a public company, set by Microsoft in 1999.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

Move over, Microsoft. Your record as the most valuable public company ever has been topped.

Apple today set a new mark as the most valuable publicly traded company of all time, reaching more than $622 billion in market capitalization, a measure of a company's stock price times the number of shares it has outstanding.

Microsoft had long held the record for the most valuable public company, having hit $618.9 billion at the end of 1999. Since then, the software giant has watched its market cap fall to its current $258.2 billion.

Apple reached the $600 billion market cap mark in April before backsliding as its shares started to slip. Over the last three months, however, Apple has watched its shares rise by 25 percent, helping it to nab its current market cap.

That jump helped propel Apple far above Exxon Mobil, which had previously battled the iPhone maker for most valuable brand. As of this writing, Exxon Mobil's market cap stands at $405.8 billion.

The big question now is, how high might Apple's market cap go? After hitting $600 billion in April, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster made headlines by saying that Apple's shares could eventually hit $1,000. (Munster gave an estimate of 2014 for when that might happen.) And if they did so, its market cap could rise to $1 trillion.

But that's still a long, long way off. Robust as they are, Apple's shares are trading at $664.29.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on its feat. We will update this story when we have more information.