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Apple: the first $700 billion company

February 10, 2015, 11:46 PM UTC

Apple has become the first U.S. company with a market value above $700 billion, adding to an already long list of achievements for the electronics titan.

The company’s shares rose nearly 2% to $122.02 Tuesday, nudging its market capitalization to just under $711 billion.

Market capitalization – or the value placed on the company by investors – is calculated by multiplying the share price by the number of shares outstanding. Apple’s dwarfs that of virtually all companies, including its closest rivals for the title of most valuable business.

Oil giant ExxonMobil (XOM) has a market capitalization of $382 billion, for example. Meanwhile, Google (GOOG) comes in at $365 billion while Microsoft (MSFT) is valued at $349 billion.

Apple’s value has increased dramatically since it started to turn its business around more than a decade ago with the introduction of the iPod. It has since conquered mobile phones and tablets, and is plotting to take on the nascent smartwatch category.

But for a few blips over the years, Apple shares have been on a tear. Since 2000, they’ve risen nearly 120-fold. Just four years ago Apple’s market value crossed $300 billion for the first time. Now it’s more than double.

During that run, Apple has shattered a number of business records. Last month, for example, Apple reported $18 billion in quarterly profits, the most of any company in history, based on record sales of 74.5 million iPhones.

Apple’s has been flirting with a $700 billion market value for a while. It briefly crossed the threshold during mid-day trading last week and, before that, in November. But it failed to hold those gains through the end of the day. Tuesday marks the first time it did so at the close of trading.

The achievement brings up an inevitable question: How much higher can Apple go?