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Apple knocks off Microsoft as most valuable company ever

A spike in share prices has made Apple the most valuable company ever. Expectations for products it is expected to release soon helped the electronics company beat a record held by its arch-rival Microsoft.

The computer and gadget maker Apple set a new record as the most valuable company of all-time on Tuesday, after its shares jumped by 2.3 percent, hitting  $665 (539 euros) on the New York stock market. This elevated Apple's value to around $622 billion, beating the previous record of $619 billion set by Microsoft in 1999 – before the dot-com bubble burst.

As recently as November 25, 2011, Apple shares were trading at just over $363, before embarking on a steep climb.

The most recent spike in value began on Friday after an investment bank analyst at the Jeffries group predicted that Apple's shares would hit $900 after the launch of the much-anticipated iPhone 5. Analysts believe the latest iPhone could be unveiled as soon as September and that iPhone may be working on a small version of its popular iPad and a new version of a device that reroutes video to television sets, which has been dubbed “iTV.”

The record comes 10 months after the cancer death of Apple's co-founder, Steve Jobs.

pfd/msh (AFP, dpa)