Apple is the world's first trillion dollar company

Sales of the Apple iPhone have transformed the business over the past decade

Sales of the Apple iPhone have transformed the business over the past decade

With a closing price of $207.39 on Thursday, Apple became the first publicly listed USA company to ever reach $1 trillion in market capitalization.

Apple's rise to a $US1 trillion market cap is also symbolic of the evolution of what kinds of companies are most valued by investors, and society at large.

Shares surged after Apple reported earnings that topped forecasts and a healthy outlook on Wednesday.

The peak reached on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) seemed unimaginable in 1997 when Apple teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, with its stock trading for less than US$1.

That's a far cry from Apple becoming some kind of poky utility, however. It was Apple's best two-day run since April 2014.

Though there's been chatter of a tech meltdown as Facebook and Twitter shares plummeted after poor earnings showings and a possible time of reckoning, other tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Microsoft have all posted strong earnings in the last quarter.

Apple is in the unique situation of controlling the hardware and software in its mobile devices, with content for users required to go through its App Store that takes a percentage of revenue.

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Originally founded as a maker of computers in 1976, Apple expanded to dozens of product categories in the 1990s, many of which were unsuccessful. It now accounts for 4 percent of the S&P 500. The company's various services such as Apple Music, iCloud and Apple Pay now represent $9.6 billion in revenue.

By a year ago, its sales had grown more than 11-fold to $229 billion - the fourth highest in the S&P 500 - and net income had mushroomed at twice that rate to $48.4 billion, making it the most profitable publicly-listed United States company.

The company ultimately turned it around by Q3, which saw a $30 million profit, and by Q4, had brought back co-founder Steve Jobs, who had resigned 12 years earlier.

The feat has of course been a race because the stock market's top 10 is now dominated by tech companies, with Amazon topping $900 billion in market cap and Google and Microsoft worth more than $800 billion.

Adjusting for four stock splits over the years, Apple debuted on the stock market for the equivalent of 39 cents a share on December 12, 1980, compared with Thursday's high of $208.38. The company is incorporated the following year.

And in 5 years maybe Canada will be worth less than the company that sold you your phone.

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