Normall when you hear someone compare a big company to a small country they're poised to commit some kind of stock-vs-flow error or other apples and oranges blunder. But this is the real deal. Apple's market capitalization is bigger than the combined value of every publicly listed PIGS company:
Apple became the world’s most valuable-ever company two weeks ago. It is worth $624bn, more than all the listed companies in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain together. The employer of 63,300 people – each valued at $10m – is more valuable than all the shares available to investors in the MSCI China index, the international benchmark.
That's pretty amazing. But what's particularly amazing about it is that (unlike Amazon or Google today or Microsoft in its late-nineties peak) Apple's doesn't have a particulalry high P/E ratio. Which is to say that its lofty value doesn't reflect expectations that it's going to be become much bigger or more profitable in the future. It's just a company that current earns a ridiculous volume of profits, and has an amazingly high market capitalization in response.