Nvidia is the world's largest publicly-traded company

Nvidia, maker of the graphic cards powering an explosively-growing AI industry, is now the world's largest publicly-traded company. With a market capitalization of $3.34 trillion, it now surpasses Microsoft ($3.32 trillion) and Apple ($3.29 trillion), longtime spitroasters of the title. All three are larger than the entire stock exchanges of London or Paris, but only one of them on the basis of a single product class—the graphics chips formerly the domain of gamers, graphics designers and scientists. The company's growth is so rapid it hasn't even been added to the Dow Jones.

Founded in 1991, Nvidia spent its first few decades primarily as a hardware company that sold chips for gamers to run 3D titles. It's also dabbled in cryptocurrency mining chips and cloud gaming subscriptions.

But over the past two years, Nvidia shares have skyrocketed as Wall Street came to recognize the company's technology as the engine behind an explosion in AI that shows no signs of slowing. The rally has lifted co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang's net worth to about $117 billion, making him the 11th wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes.

I can't help but think of one of those variety shows where someone with a hula hoop makes a huge wobbling soap bubble that floats menacingly over the audience for a few seconds before popping wetly over their heads. But perhaps I'm just …. *swipes shades* …. feeling invidious.

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