Apple becomes the richest company ever… while Facebook hits new low

Perhaps this puts a true perspective on the global importance of the smartphone and tablet market.

Having more or less singlehandedly revolutionised not only the smartphone market but also the tablet sector, Apple has grown to become the most valuable company that has ever existed.

At the end of trading on Monday it boasted a market cap of $623.5bn. The previous record-holder was Microsoft, whose market cap reached $618.9bn at the end of December in 1999.

The news comes almost exactly a year after the passing of former boss Steve Jobs.

Of course, Apple’s achievement is all the more remarkable – the dollar is worth more now than it was in 1999. And Microsoft’s triumph came at a time was Nasdaq was near its peak.

Apple is currently worth almost the same as Microsoft, Sony and Google combined. It’s also worth more than the collective value of Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Facebook, EA, Activision, Zynga, Ubisoft, Disney and Time Warner combined.

It’s also now worth 50 per cent more than the company it passed to become the biggest in the world in August 2011.

But investors are hungrier than ever for Apple at the moment, with the anticipated reveal of the iPhone 5 now just weeks away.

Apple’s achievements come as another high profile stock, that of social networking leader Facebook, continues to plummet.

Facebook’s share price fell below $20 for the first time last week, representing an overall drop of 48 per cent since the company went public in May. It’s the single worst performing stock across Nasdaq, Dow and S&P throughout that period.

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