FORTUNE -- On its way to the No. 6 spot in this year's Fortune 500, Apple (AAPL) passed two banks (J.P. Morgan and Bank of America), two car manufacturers (Ford and GM), two carriers (AT&T and Verizon), one PC maker (Hewlett-Packard), one petrochemical company (Valero), one health-care giant (McKesson), one mortgage re-seller (Fannie Mae) and Thomas Edison's GE.
To overtake Wal-Mart, this year's No. 1, Apple would have to increase its revenues three fold. Its profits, however, already exceed those of every other company on the list except Exxon Mobil.
Here's what Fortune had to say about the company Steve Jobs built:
Apple is bigger than ever -- the company cracked the Fortune 10 this year. But it's a high-pressure job, being king of the hill. At Apple's press event this past October, it maintained more than disrupted with its software upgrades and iPad mini announcement. Also, CEO Tim Cook had to apologize a lot in the past year -- once in September for the failure of Apple's maps app, and then to Chinese consumers this April for slow repair services -- this in a market that Cook said this past January would be Apple's largest. Still, when every executive wants to invent the iPod of ___, Apple remains an innovation icon.
Shortly after the close of the fiscal year on which these rankings were based, Apple's share price went into the tailspin that has dominated its media coverage ever since.
Fortune 500 companies are looking at the big picture as they embrace social media.
By Colleen Leahey, reporter
FORTUNE -- About a year before Facebook bought the photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion, General Electric (GE) joined. Instagram users take and share pictures on their smartphones and "follow" other users' photostreams. GE (No. 6 on the Fortune 500) has 86,066 followers. Instagram's retro-filters can make GE's photos look like a history MOREMay 21, 2012 5:00 AM ET
From Jobs to Sculley to Spindler to Amelio to Jobs (again) and Cook
FORTUNE -- It's been seven months since Fabio Zambelli retired SetteB.IT, the Italian-language blog with which he'd been covering Apple (AAPL) for more than five years. But he's still tracking the company's progress. When Fortune released its annual listing of America's 500 largest companies over the weekend -- a list that showed Apple rising from 35 in 2011 to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 7, 2012 10:11 AM ET
Won over by their logistical know-how and "bias for action," the online retailer is on a military hiring spree.
FORTUNE -- In a world where the typical preparation for becoming a junior executive at a Fortune 500 company is to go to college, sign on to some big corporation's management-training program, and perhaps pick up an MBA, Dennis Clancey stands out. The fresh-faced 29-year-old is an operations manager at an Amazon.com warehouse in MOREAdam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large - May 7, 2012 5:00 AM ET
The annual Fortune 500 list, which ranks U.S. companies by their gross revenue, has been tracking Apple (AAPL) since 1983, when it showed up at No. 411.
Everybody knows that Apple was in a downward slide when Steve Jobs returned from exile in 1997. What we tend to forget -- and what Nicolas Rapp's chart above makes clear -- is how long that slide continued, and how many years it took Jobs MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 7, 2011 10:45 AM ET
By Daniel Roberts, reporter
Customers love Cognizant's C2 platform so much that they want to buy it. Too bad it isn't for sale.
FORTUNE -- Cognizant Technology Solutions, a tech outsourcing and consulting firm that serves huge companies, has built a corporate version of Facebook that pulls together a bunch of Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter feeds, employee-written blogs, and chat. It's the kind of collaboration tool many businesses say they'd love MOREMay 13, 2011 5:00 AM ET
From Steve Jobs down to the janitor: How America's most successful -- and most secretive -- big company really operates.
Apple doesn't often fail, and when it does, it isn't a pretty sight at 1 Infinite Loop. In the summer of 2008, when Apple launched the first version of its iPhone that worked on third-generation mobile networks, it also debuted MobileMe, an e-mail system that was supposed to provide the seamless MOREAdam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large - May 9, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Moves up from 59th place in 2010 based on boffo sales growth and return on investment
In what Barron's describes as "a tip of the hat" to the corporations that generated the most revenue growth and cash returns in recent years, the magazine moved Apple (AAPL) up 55 spots in its 13th annual ranking of America's 500 largest companies that aren't currently in bankruptcy.
"While such operating success might not generate immediate MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 7, 2011 12:31 PM ET
Up 21 slots from 2009. If ranked by profits, rather than revenues, it would be No. 8
Apple (AAPL) catapulted into the top 50 U.S. companies in the 2011 edition of the Fortune 500 released Friday. The rankings are based on revenues from the most recent fiscal year -- in Apple's case, the one that ended Sept. 2010. If profits had been the criterion, Apple would have come in eighth, right MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 6, 2011 6:21 PM ET
Green industries of the 21st century could spring from unlikely sources -- just ask software billionaire Tom Siebel.
FORTUNE -- Bright ideas about how to help the environment and in the process make a few bucks -- or perhaps even a few billion bucks -- abound. But which of them could actually work?
Might it be billionaire Tom Siebel's new venture, the mysteriously-named C3, which aims to use clever software to radically improve MOREScott Woolley - Apr 4, 2011 10:20 AM ET
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