Oil prices are down again, and with them the value of oil’s leading producers, including Exxon once the largest company in the world. The biggest blow to Exxon came on Tuesday when, for a brief time, it was toppled from its position by Apple. The Cupertino computer behemoth was, for a short time, the biggest company in history.
But that was only a temporary glimpse at the true power of Apple. On Wednesday, the company once again beat Exxon, but this time it managed to stay on top until the end of trading. It was, of course, a tumultuous day in the market, and even Apple’s shares suffered, dropping 2.8 percent. Still, that was less than Exxon’s shares, which declined by 4.4 percent. By the end of trading, Apple’s market cap was $337.2 billion, while Exxon’s was $330.8 billion. That’s hardly a paltry number, but it is only enough or second place.
The good news for Apple is that it may be underpriced. Robert Cyran and Christopher Hughes write in the New York Times that if Apple had the same price-to-earnings growth ratio as it had in 2006, it would now be worth $900 million, and its sales continue to surge at 80 percent a year. There is still room to expand as well, both in new Asian markets, in spaces now occupied by its competition (iPhone v. Android, for instance), and in new products like smart phones and iPads.