Apple's initial public offering on December 12, 1980 sold 4.6 million shares at $22 each, generating more capital than any other iPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956 and instantly creating 300 millionaires.
By the end of the day, Apple's market capitalization had reached $1.778 billion. Thirty three years later, the company has appreciated by over 15,497 percent, reaching a market cap of more than $504 billion.
AAPL in the 1980s
With capital from its 1980 public investment, Apple funded the creation of Lisa and the Macintosh, ending the decade with a 199 percent increase in stock valuation while paying quarterly dividends.
AAPL in the 1990s
In the 1990s, a court decision transferred the value of Apple's work and intellectual property related to the Macintosh to Microsoft.
The company's stock sank, it stopped paying dividends, and the media began describing Apple as "beleaguered." The company did however initiate handheld computing and created the ARM mobile processor architecture that would subsequently help to fund Apple's turnaround.
At Apple's lowest point, Steve Jobs returned to the company with the acquisition of NeXT, Inc., sparking a renewed mission targeting innovation and growth. By the end of the 1990s, Apple had again recovered to the point where, across the decade, its stock had increased by 191.67 percent.
AAPL in the 2000s
In the 2000s, Apple's recovery was initially blunted by the dotcom bust. However, years of investment in mobile devices like the iPod and mobile technologies related to battery life and software features incorporated in its notebook products set the company up for renewed expansion.
Apple split its stock twice, and after rough 2006 where doubts plagued the future of its iPod and Mac businesses, it launched iPhone, which would quickly become a worldwide phenomenon and the world's most successful technology product to ever launch.
In 2008 the company's future was again doubted by analysts voicing concerns that "global macroeconomic indicators" were suggesting that nobody would be able to afford an iPhone, iPod or Macintosh.
That turned out to be rubbish. By the end of the 2000s, Apple turned in stock performance for the decade featuring an increase of 660.33 percent.
AAPL in the 2010s
Over the last four years of the 2010s, Apple reached new highs and began paying dividends and buying back its shares.
This year, Apple experienced a new "2006/2008" when chatter of the ascent of Samsung created mass hysteria that drove the company's stock down to its levels from 2011.
Over the past few months however, the company led by Tim Cook has recovered to the point of generating a 186.82 percent return over just four years.
Today Apple is continuing to invest in the future with its Campus 2 expansion focused on research and development. It owns the world's most successful mobile platform and is working on new silicon designs, new assembly methods, new material manufacturing and other technologies aimed at building the next generation of computing products.