Jumped to No. 6 from No. 17 on Fortune's annual list of the largest U.S. companies.

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
May 6, 2013

FORTUNE — On its way to the No. 6 spot in this year’s Fortune 500, Apple AAPL passed two banks (J.P. Morgan and Bank of America), two car manufacturers (Ford and GM), two carriers (AT&T and Verizon), one PC maker (Hewlett-Packard), one petrochemical company (Valero), one health-care giant (McKesson), one mortgage re-seller (Fannie Mae) and Thomas Edison’s GE.

To overtake Wal-Mart, this year’s No. 1, Apple would have to increase its revenues three fold. Its profits, however, already exceed those of every other company on the list except Exxon Mobil.

Here’s what Fortune had to say about the company Steve Jobs built:

Apple is bigger than ever — the company cracked the Fortune 10 this year. But it’s a high-pressure job, being king of the hill. At Apple’s press event this past October, it maintained more than disrupted with its software upgrades and iPad mini announcement. Also, CEO Tim Cook had to apologize a lot in the past year — once in September for the failure of Apple’s maps app, and then to Chinese consumers this April for slow repair services — this in a market that Cook said this past January would be Apple’s largest. Still, when every executive wants to invent the iPod of ___, Apple remains an innovation icon.

Shortly after the close of the fiscal year on which these rankings were based, Apple’s share price went into the tailspin that has dominated its media coverage ever since.

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