Apple Recap: Market Cap Woes, Samsung Boom, Labor Pains

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock dropped 2.36 percent on Friday to close at $439.85, a whole 12.03 percent below the level it was at when the week began. In a dramatic week, the middle of which saw the release of the company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings report, Apple’s status changed from Wall Street’s darling to stock of mystery. Here is a cheat sheet to the key stories that moved with the stock on Friday:

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Apple is Bested

Apple lost its status as the largest U.S. publicly traded company by market value during the trading day on Friday to Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) as its shares continued to fall. With Apple falling 2.36 percent on the day to $439.88, its market value stood at roughly $413 billion. Exxon, with its shares largely flat on the day at $91.73, had a market value above $418 billion. Apple had beaten Exxon to the title exactly a year ago, on January 25, 2012. However, since reaching a record-high price in September, its shares have slipped more than 35 percent. It is still the most valuable tech company, with both Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) possessing a value of around $250 billion each… (Read more)

Korean Dominance

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and Apple continue to dominate a growing global smartphone market, although the iPhone maker is losing some ground to its Korean rival. According to research firm IDC, Samsung’s market share in the quarter ending in December rose to 29 percent from 22.5 percent a year earlier, while Apple’s share dropped slightly to 21.8 percent from 23 percent. Samsung shipped 63.7 million devices to Apple’s 47.8 million and saw a 76 percent year-over-year growth to the iPhone maker’s 29 percent. The Korean company is going strong on the back of its ultra popular Galaxy line of based smartphones and mid-range devices. Meanwhile, Huawei’s share rose to 4.9 percent from 3.5 percent and took it to the third spot… (Read more)

Labor Issues Fixed

Apple said it cut off Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics as a component supplier last year after discovering as many as 74 underage labor violations at the circuit board manufacturer’s factories. Apple also discovered and reported an employment agency that was forging documents to allow people younger than 16 to work illegally at the supplier. The announcement was made through Apple’s latest Supplier Responsibility Report, which provides updates on worker protections and factory conditions at its many manufacturing partners. Apple has lately faced much criticism for its partners’ alleged flouting of basic labor rules, including poor wages and cramped living conditions for workers. The spotlight has been fixed even more firmly on Apple since 2010, after reports of suicides at its main manufacturer, Foxconn… (Read more)

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