Apple was the only technology company to crack the top 15, with Hewlett-Packard's 17th-place showing the next best for a Silicon Valley firm. Joining Apple in the top five are retail monolith Wal-Mart, petrochemical behemoths Exxon Mobil and Chevron, and Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate.
Apple's stratospheric ranking is a marked change from its position just 10 years ago, when it ranked a relatively lowly 301st. Much of that improvement is owed to the blockbuster success of the iPhone and iPad, which have collectively sold more than half a billion units in the last seven years.
Those sales have translated into immense financial success. Apple's $170 billion in total revenue for 2013 -- up nearly 10 percent year-over-year -- is more than the revenue booked by fellow corporate icons Microsoft and Boeing combined.
At press time, Apple shares were trading at more than $630 in advance of a 7-for-1 stock split that the company says is designed to make it more accessible to independent investors. Apple is also in the midst of a $90 billion share buyback program and recently bumped its quarterly dividend to $3.29 per share.