New York, Aug 11 - From a start-up launched with borrowed money to becoming the world's most valuable company, Apple has come a long way.
The Cupertino-based technology giant Wednesday surpassed the global leader Exxon Mobile Corp. to take this title. Exxon has held the top spot since 2005.
At the close of markets Wednesday, Apple had market capitalization of $337 billion ahead of Exxon's $331 billion. Started in 1976 with borrowed money from an Intel executive by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple's steep rise to the top began with the return of Jobs to the Cupertino-based company in 1997.
Jobs borrowed $150 million from Bill Gates to turn around the loss-making Apple with a series of overhauls.
And the path-breaking change came in October 2001 when Apple unveiled the iPod. This smart-looking, easy-to-use MP3 player went on to become the best-selling device.
But it was the unveiling of the iTunes store - the online record collection - in 2003 that created tremors in the technology world and set Apple on its journey to the world's most coveted company.
The iTunes store revolutionized the way people listen to music. Today, iTunes is the world's biggest music store which also sells TV shows and movies from its digital shelves. Music companies, which were initially apprehensive, have also made fortunes thanks to the iTunes store.
The innovation-driven Apple unleashed another revolution in 2007 by unveiling the iPhone - a device laden with apps. The sleek iPhone virtually weaned users from desktops and laptops with its surfeit of apps - from on-screen games to locaters for your neighbourhood shops to what not.
Today, Apple app store boasts 500,000 apps while rival BlackBerry App World has not even touched the 40,000-mark. Over 15 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple app store so far.
Interestingly, the company which was not in the smart phone business just five years ago, has dethroned BlackBerry and Nokia from the top perch.
The launch of the iPad in April last year made Apple the unrivalled leader of the mobile space. Apple has sold more than 25 million iPads so far.
If it keeps improving the iPhone and the iPad and launching new products, and if its products don't start cannibalizing each other, Apple could become the first trillion-dollar company in the world. (IANS)