Apple most valuable company on the planet for an afternoon

apple-store-nyThe question was less of an “if” and more of a “when.” Apple’s growth in the last year has been so meteoric that it was only a matter of time before they fought for a spot as the world’s most valuable company.

Today, they were. And then they weren’t.

Catalogued wonderfully by TechCrunch’s MG Siegler, Apple spent much of the afternoon pulling far away from Exxon Mobile’s total valuation, only to watch their share price drop enough to let the oil giant take back the title. With the recent stock market troubles—and Apple not being as hard hit as Exxon—this race became tight very quickly. Three weeks ago, Exxon’s market capitalization was near $410 billion.

Today Exxon finished at finished at $348.32 billion. Apple finished at $346.74 billion.

The market has undergone great uncertainty and turmoil recently with the United States credit rating downgrade. It remains to be seen how this race will play out once the dust has settle. Perhaps Apple’s iPhone 5 and iOS, due out some time this fall, will be the final horse that pulls it ahead in this race.