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Apple tops Microsoft to become most valuable company ever

Apple's continued strong market performance has made it the most valuable stock by market capitalization ever, besting a record set by Microsoft in 1999.

The company's market capitalization reached $621 billion in trading on Monday, besting the previous record held by rival Microsoft, as noted by the Associated Press. However, Apple's new achievement does not account for inflation. In today's dollars, Microsoft's 1999 record would have given it a market capitalization of $850 billion.

Last Friday, AAPL stock closed at a record price of $648, driven to new heights by rumors of a new iPhone, a smaller iPad, and an Apple television set.

Apple's tremendous success has helped to put it in a strong cash position which led the company to distribute its first dividend payment since the late 1990s to shareholder last week.

Apple's soaring market cap has made it worth more than 50 percent more than Exxon Mobil Corp, the second-largest company by market capitalization. Apple first passed Exon in August of 2011, with a then-value of $347 billion.

Earlier this year, Apple became worth more than Microsoft and Google combined when its market cap reached $456 billion. The iPhone maker saw its market capitalization pass Microsoft alone in May of 2010 when it reached $222 billion.