How difficult is it to remember a world where Apple was the perennial tech underdog? One would have to hearken back to a bygone era of cargo pants, Discmans and Beanie Babies, and that’s a testament to how dominant Apple has been for the last two decades.

Another more telling testament would be the statistics from the stock market on Tuesday. For a handful of hours, Apple passed Exxon Mobil as the market’s most valuable company. Though the energy giant regained top value by the end of regular trading on Tuesday, Apple is less than $2 billion behind, which isn’t much, considering that Apple was $7 billion ahead at one point on Tuesday.

Market experts estimate that Apple and Exxon Mobil will continue to one-up each other while the rest of the market remains inconsistent. Many also credit the declining price of oil ahead of Apple’s steamrolling success. But it’s difficult to discredit a brand that has been ubiquitous since the release of the iPod changed the tech world. Since then, Apple has become synonymous with technological innovation and consumer desire.

[via NY Times