Written by Emily Eng

Everyone wanted to know which of the two big American “A”-list companies would make the trillion dollar list first- Apple or Amazon?

The results are in- and it was a big victory for Apple last week, being the first American company to cross the 1 trillion dollar market cap, with Amazon coming a distant second at $879 billion last Thursday. Analysts credit the iPhone maker’s success to its software and services revenue, including the App Store, AppleCare, Apple Pay, iTunes and cloud services, which achieved record earnings in the last quarter. It reflects its founders’ vision for the company- Apple is clearly more than just a hardware company.

To put things in perspective, people normally use the trillion dollar unit to count economic outputs of countries. To think that Apple is now worth about a quarter of the 2018 US federal operations is almost mind blowing.

What is the price of the dream?

Some might scorn at Apple’s success, as it came through on the backs of underpaid workers in China and young children mining rare minerals in war-torn regions, or that it has come at the expense of the $250 billion in cash stashed offshore partly to avoid paying US taxes. Nonetheless, credit ought to be given where it is due. Apple was born 42 years ago, by the son of an immigrant, squatting in a garage and building the first Macintosh. Apple produced smartphones and computers, our generation’s equivalent of the steam engine in the Industrial Revolution. And its brutality is no different than that of the railway, steel, oil and automobile companies of the times before us.

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