At their height, IBM and AT&T were more far more dominant than Apple is today.
From Apple Is the Most Valuable Public Company Ever. But How Much of a Record Is That? in Saturday’s New York Times:
Apple’s rising stock price briefly pushed its market value over $900 billion last month. That made Apple the most valuable publicly-traded company of all time, raising the question: Will it become the first company to be worth $1 trillion?
We asked experts at the University of Chicago to help make sense of Apple’s enormous size, given the long history of the stock market. Apple’s numbers are still spectacular — but they don’t look as awesome when you take a long-term view.
My take: Interesting academic exercise. Bottom line: It was easier for AT&T to be a big fish in a small pond in 1932 when there were only 704 publicly traded companies, not 6,715 as there are today.
Here’s what the TImes’ most valuable list looked like before the Chicago experts got their hands on it:
Click to enlarge. Click here for the full list.