Here's the memo Apple CEO Tim Cook sent to employees after hitting $1 trillion

  • Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Thursday that the iPhone maker's $1 trillion market capitalization was "not the most important measure" of the company's success.
  • Instead, he said, it was a result of its focus on its products, customers, and company values.
  • In a memo to Apple's more than 120,000 employees, Cook called the valuation a "significant milestone" that gave the company "much to be proud of."

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Thursday that the iPhone maker's $1 trillion market capitalization was "not the most important measure" of the company's success but was instead a result of its focus on its products, customers and company values.

In a memo to Apple's more than 120,000 employees, Cook called the valuation a "significant milestone" that gave the company "much to be proud of." But he said it should not be the Cupertino, California, company's focus.

Here's the full memo, which was obtained by CNBC:

Team,

Today Apple passed a significant milestone. At our closing share price of $207.39, the stock market now values Apple at more than $1 trillion. While we have much to be proud of in this achievement, it's not the most important measure of our success. Financial returns are simply the result of Apple's innovation, putting our products and customers first, and always staying true to our values.

It's you, our team, that makes Apple great and our success is due to your hard work, dedication and passion. I am deeply humbled by what you do, and it's the privilege of a lifetime to work alongside you. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the late hours and extra trips, all the times you refuse to settle for anything less than excellence in our work together.

Let's take this moment to thank our customers, our suppliers and business partners, the Apple developer community, our coworkers and all those who came before us at this remarkable company.

Steve founded Apple on the belief that the power of human creativity can solve even the biggest challenges — and that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. In today's world, our mission is more important than ever. Our products not only create moments of surprise and delight, they empower people all around the globe to enrich their lives and the lives of others.

Just as Steve always did in moments like this, we should all look forward to Apple's bright future and the great work we'll do together.

Tim

Apple became the first publicly listed U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in market value Thursday, beating out e-commerce giant Amazon in a closely watched race.

The stock passed the historic threshold after posting a strong earnings report for the fiscal third quarter. As of Thursday's close, Apple had gained nearly 9 percent since the quarterly report after the bell Tuesday. The stock now accounts for 4 percent of the S&P 500.

Apple was founded in the late 1970s by Steve Jobs and went public in 1980 after helping usher in the era of the personal computer. One of three founders, Jobs was driven out of Apple in the mid-1980s, only to return a decade later and rescue the computer company from near bankruptcy.

In the two decades since, Apple has risen to become the most valuable company in the world by helping popularize yet another era in computing, the smart phone. The iPhone, introduced by Jobs in 2007, has sold more than one billion units.

—CNBC's Josh Lipton and Sara Salinas contributed to this report.