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Apple is first US company worth over $2tn after stock rose 60%

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Apple is the first U.S. company to boast a market value of $2 trillion, just two years after it became the first to reach $1 trillion.

The company’s share price rose more that 1 percent on Wednesday, to $468.35 at 11am, for a market capitalization of $2 trillion. 

Apple shares have gained nearly 60 percent this year as the company overcame the shutdown of factories in China that produce the iPhone and the closure of its retail sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s hugely loyal customer base trusts its products so much that they continued to buy iPhones and other devices online while stuck at home. 

But with the growth have come increasing question’s about Apple’s size and influence, with CEO Tim Cook and other top tech executives recently being called to testify in Congress and facing hard questions about potential antitrust concerns. 

An all-time view of Apple’s stock price is seen above.  The company’s share price rose more that 1 percent on Wednesday, to $468.35 at 11am, for a market capitalization of $2 trillion

A closed Apple Store is seen in Washington, DC in April. The company’s loyal customers have continued to buy Apple products online despite the lockdowns

Saudi Aramco reached a market value of $2 trillion shortly after becoming a public company in December 2019. 

The Saudi energy producer’s shares have fallen since amid a drop in oil prices and its market value is now about $1.82 trillion. 

Among U.S. companies, Apple is trailed by Amazon and Microsoft, the second and third-largest U.S. stocks, both of which have market caps under $1.7 trillion. 

Apple recently reported blowout earnings for the April-June quarter,

Apple’s revenue grew across every category and all of its geographical regions in the June quarter, even as the coronavirus crisis caused the U.S. economy to collapse at its worst rate since the Great Depression. 

An upcoming four-for-one stock split that will make Apple´s shares more affordable to more investors also sparked a rally after it was announced three weeks ago.

Apple has been at the vanguard of a group of Big Tech companies that are increasingly taking over people’s lives – and the stock market.

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivering the keynote address during the 2020 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California in June

With Amazon, Microsoft and Google-owner Alphabet, all now worth around $1 trillion or more, the big U.S. tech companies are together worth more than $6 trillion. 

Just five companies – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google´s parent company – account for nearly 23 percent of the S&P 500’s entire value.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 was up 0.2 percent, a day after it wiped out the last of its losses created by the pandemic and surpassed its February 19 peak to set a new record. 

Started in the garage of co-founder Steve Jobs in 1976, Apple has pushed its revenue beyond the economic outputs of Portugal, Peru and other countries. The company was worth about $350 billion when Jobs died in 2011.

Current CEO Cook took over from Jobs in August 2011 and has more than doubled Apple’s revenue and profits under his leadership. 

Cook’s net worth, based largely on his shares in Apple, has since exceeded $1 billion. 

Apple CEO was called to testify before Congress last month over antitrust concerns

Apple’s market capitalization exceeded the $2 trillion mark around 11am on Wednesday

Last week, ‘Fortnite’ video game giant Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of ‘monopolistic’ behavior for demanding a 30 percent cut of all fees charged by apps in its ecosystem. 

The suit seeks a court order ending Apple’s commission structure and forcing Apple to allow users to install software on iPhones outside the confines of the App Store. 

Apple takes a cut of between 15 percent and 30 percent for most app subscriptions and payments made inside apps, though there are some exceptions for companies that already have a credit card on file for iPhone customers if they also offer an in-app payment that would benefit Apple. 

Epic’s lawsuit relies almost completely on the one argument that Apple’s iOS app distribution and in-app payment systems are their own markets. It also goes further to argue that Apple purposely created those markets by building an ‘ecosystem’ of devices and services meant to favor Apple products.

‘A customer choosing to purchase or switch to a non-Apple device loses access to these services, leading to increased costs a customer must face when choosing to leave Apple´s ecosystem,’ Epic wrote.

In a statement, Apple said Fortnite was removed because Epic had launched the payment feature with the ‘express intent of violating the App Store guidelines’ after having had apps in the store for a decade.

‘The fact that their (Epic) business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users,’ Apple said.

Apple’s primary defense in the past when confronted with allegations of anticompetitive practices is that it does not have a majority share of the global smartphone market.

‘Apple does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business,’ Chief Executive Tim Cook told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on competition in digital markets in July.

On Wednesday, the US International Trade Commission said it would investigate an allegation from Japanese tech firm Maxell that Apple had infringed patents in its ‘Maps’ and ‘Find My Friends’ iPhone apps.

THE TRILLION DOLLAR RISE OF APPLE

The company’s journey to the summit of the technology industry has been a rocky one, having seen Jobs (pictured right in 1976) leave the firm in the mid-1980s after his pet project, the first Macintosh computer, struggled and he attempted to oust then chief executive John Sculley. Wozniak is pictured left  

1976: Founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne created the company on April 1 1976 as they set about selling computer kits to hobbyists, each of which was built by Wozniak.

The first product was the Apple I. 

1977: Apple released the Apple II in June, which was the first PC made for the mass market. 

1981: Jobs became chairman.  

1984: The Macintosh was introduced during an ad break for the Super Bowl and later officially unveiled during a launch event. It was discontinued a year later and Jobs left the firm.

1987: Apple released the Macintosh II, the first colour Mac.

1997: Apple announces it will acquire NeXT software in a $400 million deal that involves Jobs returning to Apple as interim CEO. He officially took the role in 2000.  

2001: Apple introduced iTunes, OS X and the first-generation iPod.

The first iPod MP3 music player was released on October 23, 2001, at an event in Cupertino and was able to hold up to 1,000 songs.

Steve Jobs unveils Apple Computer Corporation’s new Macintosh February 6, 1984 in California.

The then Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Steve Jobs, with the iPhone

2007: Apple unveils the iPhone. 

2010: The first iPad was unveiled.

2011: Jobs resigned in 2011 due to illness, handing the CEO title to Tim Cook. Job died in October from pancreatic cancer.

2014: Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. It also unveiled its first larger iPhones – the 6 and 6 Plus. 

2015: After purchasing Beats from Dr Dre, Apple launched Apple Music to compete with Spotify and other music streaming services. 

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

2016: Apple returned to its roots and announced the 4-inch iPhone SE. Meanwhile, the firm is embroiled in a legal battle with the FBI, involving the agency demanding access to the locked phone used by Syed Farook, who died in a shootout after carrying out a deadly December attack in San Bernardino, California with his wife. The court order was dropped on March 28 after the FBI said a third party was able to unlock the device.  

2017: Apple introduces the iPhone X, which removes the home button to make way for a futuristic edge-to-edge screen design and a new FaceID system that uses advanced sensors and lasers to unlock phones with just the owner’s face.    

2018: In a first for the company, Apple introduces new features in its latest operating system, iOS 12, that encourage users to manage and spend less time on their devices. The move was spawned by a strongly worded letter from shareholders that urged the firm to address the growing problem of smartphone addiction among kids and teenagers. 

2019: In January, Apple reports its first decline in revenues and profits in a decade. CEO Tim Cook partly blamed steep declines in revenue from China.

2020: In March, Apple closes all its bricks and mortar retail stores outside of China in response to coronavirus. 

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