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PEAK APPLE: Fondleslab giant no longer world's biggest biz

Share price shenanigans nudges ExxonMobil ahead

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Apple has lost the title of world's biggest company after a share slide allowed oil giant ExxonMobil to take the top spot.

Fears over future sales for iPhones and iPads sent shares in the fruity firm falling on Wednesday from $420.27 to a low of $398.11, before recovering to end the day at $402.80 - a drop across the day of 4.16%. ExxonMobil is now worth slightly more than Apple's $380 billion.

This is the first time Apple's shares have dipped below the $400 mark for 18 months. Late last year its shares were hovering around the $700 mark.

The shares plunged after Cirrus Logic, a key Apple supplier, reported a decline its sales. Apple snaps up some 90% of Cirrus' sound components for use in the iPad and iPhone, but Cirrus' earnings for this quarter are expected to be significantly down - and it doesn't expect sales to pick up any time soon. On Tuesday Cirrus said an "unnamed company" had ordered fewer components.

This has been widely read as a clue that Apple has plans to produce fewer of the next generation of iPhones, perhaps after building up a surplus. However, this could be also explained as Apple finding a new component supplier.

China also appears to be becoming increasingly hostile to Apple, accusing it of peddling porn through the app store and forcing Tim Cook to apologise about the standard of his underlings' customer service.

These ructions to a market which eats up 15% of the fruity firm's produce, and is worth $23.8 billion to Cupertino, are bound to be worrying Cook and his crew. ®

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