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Apple Passes Exxon as World's Most Valuable Company

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 17, 2011 6:49 AM

Is the U.S. economy heading towards an age of innovation? Maybe, as the market value of tech giant Apple passed Exxon for the first time in history.

Last Wednesday, the market value of Apple was at $337.2 billion. The market value of Exxon was at $330.8 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Both companies' valuations are nothing to sneeze at. For Apple, its status as one of the most valuable companies in the world is also a comeback story.

Steve Jobs is famous now for headlining Apple's trade shows and making announcements for its new products. As CEO, he's been credited with much of Apple's success. But, he was also kicked off Apple's board in 1985, reports Bloomberg.

Jobs returned to Apple's helm more than a decade later, according to Bloomberg. Though at that point, Apple's ship was rapidly sinking, as the company had raked in more than a billion in losses over the previous few years. But, with innovations like the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, the company has surged as one of the leaders in the tech industry.

Of course, the fact that Apple has passed Exxon is partly due to the market's fluctuations. An energy company like Exxon depends on the value of fossil fuels like oil, according to experts like Heritage Foundation research fellow David Kreutzer who spoke to the Huffington Post. When the price of oil drops, guess what happens to Exxon's value?

But, it may also be true that the U.S. economy is now shifting to a realm where physical assets like oil may not be as important as intellectual assets. Ideas and innovations created by Apple undoubtedly influence the company's value.

Ultimately, Apple's win over Exxon may be short-lived. Exxon has been on the Fortune 500's most profitable company list for years. It's unlikely that the company will relinquish its seat at the top.

So, the Apple/Exxon showdown over which company's worth the most may last for years. And, you never know - maybe another company will be able to come in and take the crown. After all, Apple passed Exxon, but maybe someone else will pass Apple.

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