Apple has become the world’s most valuable company, with high sales expectations of the iPhone 5 due to be announced on September 12, being the main reason for this. The Cupertino company’s shares rose 2.6% to $665.15 at the close of trading in New York, making for a market value of $623.5 billion. This surpasses the $616.3 billion record set by Microsoft on December 27, 1999 during the internet boom, according to data compiled by S&P Dow Jones Indices. The iPhone currently accounts for 70% of the company’s profits.
The company’s market value has surged by more than seven times since the original iPhone was released in 2007 and the stock has climbed 64% this year alone. Apple plans to introduce a smaller, cheaper iPad by the end of this year, likely to head off the potential threat of Microsoft’s Surface tablet due for release on October 26.
“With the iPhone they have successfully created a strong customer following in an absolutely enormous marketplace,” said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., in an interview. “They have captured the hearts and minds of consumers.”