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Putting Apple Into Perspective

Apple — darling of retail investors and hedge funds alike— has been creating buzz in the market for years as it continues its meteoric rise. In February, the company's market capitalization moved above the $500 billion mark.

Apple is one of the few corporations to eclipse the $500 billion mark, although it is currently the only publicly traded company to exist above this value today, at $506.2 billion as of March 2, 2012. Five other companies have seen their value peak at over $500 billion, including Microsoft ($615 billion in December 1999), General Electric ($594 billion in August 2000), Cisco Systems ($557 billion in March 2000), ExxonMobil ($527 billion in October 2007) and Intel ($502 billion in August 2000).

These sky-high valuations are sometimes hard to grasp, since they occur so infrequently in the regular business world. So to grasp of how big Apple really is, here are several comparisons of the company’s $506.2 billion market cap and $97.6 billion in cash holdings. How much could Apple buy and what else is worth $500 billion? Click ahead to find out!

By Paul Toscano
Posted 2 Mar 2012

Photo: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images