Tim Cook PeopleSource: Brooks Kraft/Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple is now the sixth biggest company on the planet in terms of global revenue according to Fortune's Global 500 list.
  • Walmart was again at the top of the list.

Apple has found itself in sixth spot on the latest Fortune 500 Global list, published earlier today. Walmart was again in the number one spot, followed by Amazon in third.

Fortune notes that this is the eighth consecutive year that Walmart has been at the top of the pile, while it's also managed first place 16 times since 1995.

In terms of Apple, its move from 12 to six in the rankings comes as it was also the most profitable company on the list thanks to last year's $57 billion in profits.

The pandemic created challenges and opportunities for Apple. CEO Tim Cook had to close stores and send home engineers. But with Apple customers worldwide working and learning from home, iPad and Macintosh computer sales skyrocketed to their highest levels ever. And fiscal-year revenue hit an all-time record too, of $275 billion. That helped Apple's stock price soar; it gained 80.7% in 2020. As that year wound down, regulators fixed their sights on Apple for potentially abusing its power over the iOS app store. A House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee report in October concluded that Apple "exerts monopoly power" in its app store to harm competition and increase prices for consumers. Meanwhile, testimony in an antitrust lawsuit filed by Fortnite developer Epic Games will likely increase pressure on legislators to limit Apple's power.

The Fortune Global 500 top ten reads:

  1. Walmart (U.S.)  
  2. State Grid (China)
  3. Amazon.com (U.S.)
  4. China National Petroleum (China)  
  5. Sinopec (China) 
  6. Apple (U.S.)
  7. CVS Health (U.S.)
  8. UnitedHealth Group (U.S.) 
  9. Toyota Motor (Japan) 
  10. Volkswagen (Germany) 

Across the rest of the companies, 122 were based in the United States while 143 were from China. Of the 500 companies, 23 have women CEOs which is nine more than last year. It's a step in the right direction of course, but it's also a number that's far too low.

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While these numbers were based on 2020's figures, Apple will be hoping for a bumper end to 2021, too. The arrival of iPhone 13 is just around the corner, as are new Apple Watches. Apple reportedly expects some of the best iPhone sales to come from iPhone 13, so hopes are high for a big end to the year.