Apple overtakes Exxon asthe world's biggest company

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The Independent Online

Apple has become the largest publicly-traded company in the world, surpassing the oil giant ExxonMobil in yesterday'sturbulent stock markets. The company which revolutionised personal computing in the Eighties only to come close to collapse in the Nineties, is now selling three iPhones or iPads every second of every day.

The market value of Apple passed Exxon in lunchtime trading in New York last night, putting it at $341.5bn to the oil company's $341.4bn. Exxon has four times the annual revenue of its hi-tech rival, but investors value it less highly because profit margins are lower and oil prices have headed downwards.

The two companies also have very different histories. Apple, founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, is less than 40 years old, while Exxon traces its roots back to 1911, celebrating its centenary this year.