With iPhone maker Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) recently hitting an all-time high and continuing to push higher into uncharted territory, the company has officially become the most valuable publicly traded company of all time. That dethrones rival Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) historical record, which has reigned for more than a decade.

Apple's intraday high so far as of this writing has been $664.75, and multiplying that by its total outstanding shares of 937.4 million gets you to a peak market cap of approximately $623.1 billion. That tops the software giant's record of just under $619 billion at the height of the tech bubble near the turn of the millennium.

Since then, the bubble popped spectacularly and Microsoft shares have languished for more than a decade, with the company's market cap now sitting at just $259 billion while its rival from Cupertino continues to see its shares and results soar. Another key difference is that at their peak, Microsoft shares were trading around 72 times earnings and 31 times sales, a lofty and unsustainable valuation in hindsight.

In contrast, Apple shares currently trade at 15.2 times earnings and 4.1 times sales, relatively cheap compared with the earnings potential it has demonstrated over the past few years.

Mobile rival and search giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) now has a market cap of $221.4 billion, almost exactly a third of Apple's. Here's how the trio of tech titans currently stack up in various metrics.




EPS Growth (TTM)

Net Margin (TTM)

Net Income (TTM)

Apple 15.2 4.1 68.4% 27% $40.1 billion
Microsoft 15.4 3.5 (25.9%) 23% $17 billion
Google 20.1 5.1 21.6% 25.7% $11.1 billion

Sources: Reuters, Morningstar. TTM = trailing 12 months.

With Apple now grabbing the all-time crown, investors can now resume speculation of when (not if) Apple will become the world's first trillion-dollar company. At this rate, we might be there sooner rather than later.

That's why you should sign up The Motley Fool's brand new Apple research service. You'll get a detailed report on everything current or prospective shareholders should know, as well as key updates as news develops. Sign up today.

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