Apple passed Exxon today to become the most valuable company on earth.  The excitemnt only lasted a few hours until the market rally at the end of the day put Exxon back on top, however.  But, that didn’t stop people wondering: What’s next for Apple?

Enter Robert Cyran, Columnist for Reuters, who doesn’t understand why Apple isn’t headed straight towards being the first $1Trillion company.

Apple’s sales have been surging 80 percent a year, and its profit faster. What’s more, it trades roughly in line with the growing stock market — and at less than half the price-to-earnings multiple it fetched in 2006, when revenue growth was much slower. Apple now trades at about 11 times estimated earnings for the fiscal year ending September 2012. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is valued at about 10 times next year’s profit. But Apple’s sales growth is nearly 10 times faster than that of the average company. Apple also holds $76 billion of cash and investments.

So, what’s the deal? Apple, if put on the same P/E multiple it traded on in 2006, would be worth $900 billion.

And who has brighter prospects than Apple right now?

In getting to the conclusion that investors simply can’t wrap their head around a $1 trillion company, Cyran discounts the uncertainty in leadership, which unfortunately may not be insignificant:

Apple can’t be so cheap just because Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive, is in bad health.

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