Apple Passes $300 Billion Market Cap Milestone

January 3, 2011 Updated: January 4, 2011

Apple Inc. (AAPL, Nasdaq) surpassed $300 billion in value on Monday when the company’s stock soared by $7.47 (2.3 percent) to $329.57, its highest close ever, bumping it up to the second most valuable public company in the world, according to Forbes.

In 2010, Apple sped past competitor Microsoft in terms of value, coming from $40 billion behind to being ahead by $60 billion. However, it is still a long way behind oil giant Exxon Mobil's $375 billion market capitalization.

With the introduction of popular products like the iPad and the iPhone 4, 2010 was a prosperous year for Apple. The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology company sold 14.1 million iPhones, 3.89 million Macs, 9.05 million iPods and 4.19 million iPads in the final quarter of 2010 alone, according to tech blog Mashable.

If the growth continues through 2011, which is likely if CEO Steve Jobs decides to release iPhone on the Verizon Wireless network, the tech giant’s success may edge closer to that of Exxon.

However, the iPhone faces fierce competition from the Android, which is becoming increasingly popular, and Exxon’s growth shows no sign of slowing.

With oil prices rising, Exxon's position atop the public company wealth rankings looks unchallenged for now, especially since its market cap gap with Apple rose from $50 billion in October to $73 billion this month.