Apple Inc. shares broke the US$200 mark for the first time ever Wednesday, then slipped back under the bar to close at $198.95 – about where they stand today.

Thecompany's stock price breached the $200 barrier before 2pm Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday and peaked at $200.96. Within an hour and a half, however, it had dropped below $200 again. At the bell, shares were up 15 cents for the day, to $198.95.

In the last 52 weeks the stock swung from a low of $76.77 to Wednesday's high of $200.96. A year ago today, Apple's shares closed at $81.51

The stock's increase was paced by several significant product launches during 2007, including the iPhone's in June and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard's in October, as well as refreshes of its computer and iPod line-ups.

In the same year-to-year period, rival Microsoft Corp.'s stock price went from $29.99 on December 26, 2006 to $36.61 Wednesday, while Google Inc.'s shares jumped from $457.53 to $710.84.