Only six companies have crossed the $500 billion dollar mark in market value. Most of them have sunk far below that level shortly after their high water mark. Microsoft, the most valuable company in history, was worth a staggering $604 billion at the end of 1999, but eventually sank down to a comparatively paltry $266 billion. The other companies to cross that barrier–Intel, GE, and Cisco–are well below their highs. Only Exxon, worth $405 billion at the moment, has retained something close to that value. Now, there’s a new member in the club: Apple is now worth $500 billion dollars.
Will Apple hold this value? Well, no. Not forever, anyway; no company can stay on top forever because now Apple is the big target. Everyone from Microsoft to… well, some company we won’t hear about for years yet… will be aiming at Cupertino’s fruit company. Still, for the moment, Apple is top dog and they’re looking like they may stay that way for awhile since they’re sitting on a $100 billion war chest of cash and investments.