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The epitome of enormous growth, a corporate enigma, Apple is the most expensive company in the world with a market value of $2.4tn. The triumphant tech heavyweight has at times been elbowed out by Saudi Aramco, but Apple remains in a league of its own: it took 42 years for the firm to hit a $1tn valuation, two years to get to $2tn, and only 16 months to add its 3rd trillion – becoming the first company to do so. Not bad for a computer gig launched in a California garage in 1976 by college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. While Apple shares didn’t escape the bear market of 2022, the iPhone maker posted almost $400bn in revenue for 2021.
A highflying company in the upper echelon of the Big Tech realm, Microsoft boasts a market valuation of just under $2tn. From battling with Apple over the OS market share in the 90s, to introducing new products such as Microsoft Azure, the company has been driving the technology revolution since its earliest days. The tech giant, headed by Satya Nadella, has this unwavering ambition to keep growing – Microsoft purchased gaming company Activision Blizzard in 2022 in a $69bn deal aimed to bring the software maker closer to the metaverse. Microsoft delivered $168bn in revenue for the fiscal 2021, up a hefty 18% on an annualized basis.
Whenever there’s talk about Big Tech influence over people’s lives (and privacy) someone is always quick to raise Google. A technology mainstay, Google is instrumental for making our days easier whether it’d be traffic navigation or cramming stuff about an upcoming exam. Google renamed itself to Alphabet in a major restructuring process in 2015. But don’t worry, you can still say “let me google that.” In practice, Alphabet will now be the parent company of Google, and other projects such as YouTube, Gmail, Android, Chrome, etc. And it delivered a blowout 2021 with $257bn in revenue, or a 41% increase from the prior year.
Amazon is a pioneer in the tech business. Starting as a fledgling online bookseller in 1994, it now arguably forms the backbone of the internet, overseeing cloud computing, e-commerce platforms, as well as revolutionizing delivery service and trying its luck in other sectors through Amazon Fresh and Amazon Fashion. Amazon saw parabolic growth from 2010 to 2022, rising over 2300%, to send it above the $1tn market cap benchmark. In 2021, founder Jeff Bezos handed the reins over to Andy Jassy who’s been dealing with Amazon’s day-to-day troubles as a CEO while Bezos is rocketing himself into space or getting his tan on the Amalfi coast.
Initially a website made by Mark Zuckerberg to rank fellow female Harvardians, Facebook has since (and thankfully) been repurposed as the largest social media platform, and now has close to 3 billion monthly active users. Most would lay back and enjoy. Not him, though. Ever since TikTok overtook Facebook as the world’s most downloaded app, Zuck has been restless. So much he went on and rebranded his company to Meta in efforts to stay ahead of the curve and be a bellwether in the race for the metaverse. Still, for the full 2021, Meta reaped revenue of $117bn, of which net income arrived at $39bn.
Cisco is one of the few companies nowadays that are missing the good old times of the dot com bubble. At the turn of the new millennium, the software and hardware maker was a heavyweight stock with a valuation of over $550bn after its shares rocketed by more than 200% from 1999 to 2000. Having peaked at roughly $80 a share at that time (Amazon was worth a mere $25bn), investors were all about networking equipment and IT gadgets. More than 20 years later, Cisco is now trotting along at about 50% discount from its prime time with market cap under $200bn. Has the shovel-seller in a dot com gold rush lived its best moments?
Oracle, a $190bn enterprise software behemoth, saw its fortune soar as it built its business on the back of a flurry of databases. When the time arrived to migrate everything to the cloud, the firm lagged behind rivals Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Anyhow, founder Larry Ellison and co found a way to transition their legacy license support in 2018 and now the firm offers a fully integrated stack of cloud apps readily available to clients under the not-so-trendy name ‘Cloud services and license support.’ In 1986, or before most of us were born, Oracle went public at $15 a share. For the first half of 2022 the stock was down about 20%.
Software company Adobe has been giving millions of users access to high-quality photos, illustrations, vector graphics and the platforms to work them however you like. Public since 1986, the company sits at the top of the heap with a market value of just under $180bn and shares hovering around $400 apiece. In early 2022, the technology giant struggled to maintain its upward trajectory and shares were down one-third in the first half. More recently, the stock price was slashed by investors after Adobe reduced its full-year guidance to $17.65bn in revenue, down from $17.90bn predicted in December 2021.
Salesforce is best known for its cloud-based sales automation software. The firm is a pioneer of the software-as-a-service industry – founded in 1999, Salesforce is presently valued at roughly $170bn. It easily overtook German software maker SAP in market value and now, after over 30 years of bromance, Salesforce co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff, an ex-top Oracle salesman, gears up to eclipse his former mentor Larry Ellison and his firm. In a solid push in that direction, Salesforce ended the pandemic-ridden 2020 with a bang when it announced in December it is acquiring workplace chat app Slack in a $27.7bn cash-and-stock deal.
Behold everyone, the world’s oldest tech company is about to enter. Please welcome… let’s give it a minute. Oh, there it is – IBM, ladies and gentlemen! Founded in 1911, IBM had its own corporate songbooks and blue-suit-black-shoes dress code. Later on, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the tech firm got so successful it made up 80% of the entire tech industry. In terms of stock performance, IBM has been faring the bear market of 2022 pretty well. The company’s stock was a literal hideout as it finished the first half of 2022 in the green while other tech giants succumbed to 30% drawdowns (or more if you ask Meta).
Fintech company Intuit is the owner of TurboTax and QuickBooks – two of the more famous accounting and tax filing apps out there. More recently, in late 2020, Intuit acquired credit report provider Credit Karma in a $8.1bn cash-and-stock deal. Intuit was founded in 1983 as a tax preparation solution. Today it employs more than 14,000 people and boasts a market value of roughly $110bn. The company’s stock has been battered by the bearish sentiment of 2022. Shares of Intuit were down by more than 30% in the first half of the year as they finished June at $385 apiece. Further back, the firm hit an all-time high of $715 a share in November 2021.