New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Became World's Most Valuable Company Seven Years Ago Today, Two Weeks Before Steve Jobs Resigned as CEO

Today marks the seventh anniversary of Apple passing U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil to become the world's most valuable company for the first time, with a market capitalization of around $341.5 billion at the time.

Apple achieved the milestone on August 9, 2011, just over two weeks before the late Steve Jobs resigned as CEO on August 24, 2011, the same day that he nominated then-COO Tim Cook to succeed him in the position. Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011, following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Apple dropped back below ExxonMobil a few times, and was briefly surpassed by Google parent company Alphabet in market cap at times in 2016, but the iPhone maker has been the world's most valuable company for the better part of the past seven years, and continues to hold that title today.

Apple becoming the world's most valuable company was a remarkable accomplishment given that it flirted with bankruptcy in the mid-to-late 1990s, until Jobs returned and streamlined its product lineup. Under his leadership, Apple introduced several hits, including the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

Apple has continued its success under Cook, becoming the first publicly traded U.S. company worth a trillion dollars last week, shortly after reporting record-breaking $53.3 billion revenue in the third quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. Apple's stock has appreciated over eight percent since the results came out.

Apple will look to build upon its success by expanding its focus on technologies such as augmented reality, autonomous driving, and artificial intelligence, in addition to services like Apple Music and its upcoming Netflix competitor.


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

27 weeks ago
It makes me happy that Steve Jobs was able to see this happen in his lifetime.

But I also admittedly question how I can be happy for someone who denied being the father of his first-born daughter for quite a while. It's a shame.
Rating: 18 Votes
27 weeks ago
Steve Jobs was great.

Today's Apple is okay, but could be better. I wish they would stop chasing dollars at the expense of the customer experience sometimes.
Rating: 16 Votes
27 weeks ago

NOT a Fan of Tim Cook, End of Story !

I’m sure he’s not a fan of yours anyway.

He’s every company’s dream CEO. Haters are going to hate.
Rating: 15 Votes
27 weeks ago
Steve was not perfect.
Steve did not single-handedly do anything at Apple. It's always been a team effort

but damn do I miss him. ...and not in comparison to Cook who I think has done a fine job overall. We could have a Sculley or Amelio type so be thankful for that. Tim loves Apple and lets each one of his reports do what they think is right and while they don't always do the right thing for the company or the consumers, Tim doesn't hesitate to fire someone and take responsibility for the screw-up. He's a good manager, a good operational expert and he cares deeply about Apple.

Tim is not Steve but just like Steve is not anything like Woz. That's what makes each of these people great in their own right.

No one knows what Apple would be today if Steve were still running the show. I still really miss him.

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


This still brings a tear to my eye.
Rating: 12 Votes
27 weeks ago
NOT a Fan of Tim Cook, End of Story !
Rating: 10 Votes
27 weeks ago
Great memories of Steve Jobs.

(I admit to have watched Steve's Macintosh and iPhone introduction videos yesterday. I watch something every few weeks. It's like great movies you can watch over and over and over again without being bored.)
Rating: 8 Votes
27 weeks ago
So poetic, I'd argue that the iPhone 4 was his 9th symphony and gift to the world.
Rating: 6 Votes
27 weeks ago
Still would kill the company to put SSD’s in all of their computers, though.
Rating: 6 Votes
27 weeks ago

Not when you are leading and encouraging a team of engineers who are designing expensive products and subpar software. Just look at the iOS 11 and MacOS High Sierra fiasco.

You class those as fiascos? Obviously you've forgotten about iOS 5/6 and OS X Lion.

Lion was a revolting OS. Terrible memory management compared to Snow Leopard. Systems were paging with absolutely no usage. It was unusable if you had less than 8GB RAM. iOS 5 turned the iPhone 4 from a buttery phone on iOS 4 to a laggy mess in just one iteration. Today's users would have been frothing at the mouth with that kind of performance deficit in just one generation.

And remember, there weren't anywhere near the number of devices or the number of features in the OS by then. More features + more users = more random stuff that can go wrong which you just can't test unless you have an enormous userbase doing lots of random tasks and unorthodox steps to create a problem.

Let's just go with iOS. You had just under 200 million iOS devices at that time. You've got over a billion now.

Say back then, 1% of iOS users were affected by a bug. That's 2 million affected users.
Say now, 0.4% of iOS users are affected by a bug. That's 4 million affected users.

In this hypothetical, double the complaints today doesn't mean the old OS was twice as reliable. It's quite the opposite. More users = more complaints.

It may seem more unreliable due to more complaints but let me absolutely assure you from my personal experience, iOS and MacOS are far, far, far more reliable than they were. Plus things get patched a lot quicker these days.
Rating: 6 Votes
27 weeks ago

NOT a Fan of Tim Cook, End of Story !

Ah, but a classic story needs to be retold. [0]=1026718']54 times according to your post history. ('[user)

Here are some highlights:

If anybody thinks the Tim Cook-run Apple is doing their job, they simply aren't paying close attention !

… NOT to throw ALL who desire them under the bus ... just look what has happened to BMW's once-loved 3-series sedan !

Does Tim Cook even get it ???

Like I've been saying, Tim Cook isn't very good at Product Planning OR Strategy.

The man is a Master at Manufacturing Operations Efficiency ... the kind of skill one would find in the #3 OR #4 person at such a company as Apple, but NOT the #1 guy !

But the real question is whether or not you're a fan of Tim Cook… o_O
Rating: 6 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]