Less than two years ago, Apple’s market capitalization, an estimate of the company’s total value, hit the $2 trillion dollar mark—a previously unheard of sum, even for the world’s most valuable corporation. On January 3, 2022, Apple welcomed the new year with a fresh milestone: the company’s valuation crested $3 trillion, dwarfing the likes of Netflix, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, LVMH, and Amazon (other distant contenders for capitalism’s highest throne).
From its founding in 1976 until 2018, Apple grew steadily until it became the first American company to reach a trillion dollar valuation. In the three years since, the tech giant has not looked back. Aided by the pandemic and popular new technologies, Apple hit $2 trillion in 2020 and jumped up another trillion dollars—more than the combined values of Hulu, Disney, Netflix, and HBO combined—before reaching its historic valuation just after the New Year.
Apple’s shares have climbed a phenomenal 5,800 percent since co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January 2007, outpacing even the most optimistic of estimates. To put its current value in perspective, Apple is worth more than all of the world’s cryptocurrencies combined and the GDP of the world’s second most populous country (India). It boasts a market capitalization that dwarfs the entire value of megabank JPMorgan Chase… six times over.
Apple’s incredible value is made possible by a number of regulatory loopholes in addition to its flashy signature products. Over the last decade, Apple has purchased over $488 billion of its own shares, helping to inflate its stock price using Reagan-era policies. This is the largest stock buyback scheme ever enacted. Apple has also been known to skirt taxes in the US by using offshore tax havens and moving facilities to countries with more favorable regulations.
The continued growth of big tech seems hard to doubt, despite increasing pressure for anti-trust action and harsher restrictions on privacy and big data laws. But with the critical mass needed to stonewall any attempts made by hostile governments and rivals, Apple’s place seems all but assured.
By: Ani Bayramyan