How do you spell money? A-P-P-L-E.

With another jump in Apple’s stock price today, the hip tech monster hit another milestone: Apple became the most valuable public company in history.

It’s a moment that surely would have made the late Steve Jobs proud—especially since Apple overtook his longtime rival Microsoft’s previous mark.

So what was the magic number? A cool $623 billion. That surpassed the $618.9 billion that Microsoft hit on Dec. 30, 1999—in the days when every tech company was riding the dot-com wave to big riches.

Apple’s share price also hit a new record, trading at $664.74 per share. Compare that to the share price of the latest tech star to go public—Facebook, which currently sits at just $19.82 a share. Right now, Facebook and Apple are not even breathing the same air. Apple has gotten a boost of late with the news of shiny new Apple products that are about to hit the market, such as a new iPhone next month, possibly a smaller iPad and a better Apple TV.

 When Microsoft was hitting those big numbers in the late 1990s, Apple was struggling. Just three years ago, its value was just $100 billion. Now it sits on top of the tech world, thanks to iPhone and iPad. By itself, the iPhone makes more money than the entire Microsoft company, while the iPad has become an unstoppable multi-billion dollar product.

Apple is about to become the sales leader among tech companies and is close to the top among the most profitable companies in the world—though it’s hard to compete in that category with oil giants like ExxonMobil.

Unbelievably, some analysts say Apple is actually undervalued because its stock price has lagged behind its earnings.

The final hurdle for Apple is to catch Microsoft’s record for most valuable company when inflation is taken into account. The Microsoft number from 1999 would actually be more than $230 billion higher in 2012 dollars—a whopping $851 billion. That’s the new target for Apple, which shows no sign of slowing down with a steady stream of hot products jumping onto the market every year.

 

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