Battle of the market caps: Exxon beat Apple by $30BJanuary 2, 2012: 11:58 AM ET
Exxon Mobil finished 2011 where it started: As the world's most valuable company
At one point in late September, Apple's market cap (share price times number of outstanding shares) was nearly $36 billion more than Exxon's.
But though Apple's shares ended the year having gained more than Exxon's (25.1% to 15.5%), it was not enough to overtake Exxon's initial lead. Exxon finished 2011 $30 billion ahead of Apple.
The fact is, the world can live without iPhones and iPads. It still can't get along without oil.