This is the Tech Era so obviously, it stands to reason that tech companies are doing extremely well! And this list is dominated by the GAFAM companies which are the top 5 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies by market cap. Are you wondering what GAFAM is?
It’s Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. All these companies bought in combined revenue of $801.5 billion in 2019, which is a lot of zeroes! And even more interesting is that all of them are based in the United States of America. So, let’s see these GAFAM companies and trace their journeys to corporate success!
If you are reading this article right now, chances are that you found it using Google Search. Google is the most famous company name in the tech world and even non-tech people have heard this name. And why not? Google is everywhere! Apart from Google Search, you probably mail using Gmail, write with Google Docs, use Google Maps when you are lost, and watch fun videos on YouTube. And this is only some of the services provided by Google. There are many more! But let’s start from the beginning.
Google was created in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in California. The company moved its offices to Palo Alto, California in March 1999 which is also home to many other Silicon Valley startups. Google provided an initial public offering on August 19, 2004, where it offered 19, 605, 052 shares at $85 per share. Those who bought those shares certainly got lucky in the future!!! The next big things Google did were acquiring YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006 and then DeepMind Technologies for $400 million in 2014. While YouTube is currently the biggest video sharing platform in the world, DeepMind has expanded Google’s research in Artificial Intelligence. So these investments were very beneficial for Google. Then in 2015, Google broadened its horizons, and Alphabet was created. This is the parent company of Google and it was created so that the Alphabet could manage various companies in different fields and Google could exclusively manage the internet. This resulted in Sundar Pichai becoming the CEO of Google while Larry Page became the CEO of Alphabet. But this certainly hasn’t reduced Google’s popularity with it being one of the “Big Five” Tech Giants in Silicon Valley!
There are very few people in this world who have never heard about an iPhone. This phone is so popular that it has become a status symbol in many countries and that is due to the quality of Apple products. Apple is known for its superior technology and masterful design is not only the iPhone but the iPad, the Mac personal computer, the Apple Watch smartwatch, the AirPods, etc. You get the picture, Apple is the best in all it makes! Apple is also an all-rounder and it creates not only its hardware but the software as well. The macOS and iOS which are the operating systems for the Mac computers and the iPhones respectively are also extremely popular for their functionality and design. In addition to that, Apple also provides online services like the iTunes Store, Apple Music, Apple TV+, iOS App Store, iCloud, etc.
And everybody has heard of Steve Jobs! He was one of the founders of Apple along with Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in April 1976. But Apple Computer, Inc. was officially created in January 1977 and the company went public in 1980 selling 4.6 million shares at $22 per share. Did you know that over 300 new millionaires were created in this process! However, things went a little south in 1985 when Steve Wozniak left Apple amicably while Steve Jobs resigned to create NeXT. This started the dark phase of Apple when it lost market share to Microsoft Windows on Intel PC’s. However, all this was resolved in 1997, when Apple bought NeXT and brought back Steve Jobs. He became the CEO in 2000 and changed Apple into the company we know it today! Jobs started the “Think different” campaign. Apple also brought many new companies like SoundJam MP, which was renamed as “iTunes” and released in 2000. However, Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 marking the end of an era for Apple which resulted in Tim Cook becoming the new CEO. But Apple only went up in power and prestige when it was announced in January 2016 that one billion Apple devices were in active use all around the world. Apple has continued its monopoly on the iPhone and it introduced the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max just recently on September 10, 2019. Apple has the most loyal fan base of any company in the world! People have come in huge crowds for Apple Store openings and product releases and even waited in lines for days. A man even proposed at the opening of the Apple Cube store in New York City!!!
What is the best way to connect with friends? The best way to know what your social circle is doing even halfway around the world? It’s Facebook of course! Facebook is the world’s first and most famous social networking website. It has single-handedly made this world a smaller place and resulted in the emergence of many new social networking platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. But the company Facebook is not just about its social networking platform. Facebook has also provided other services such as Facebook Messenger, Facebook Watch, etc. And if you enjoy posting pictures on Instagram or sending messages using WhatsApp, Facebook has acquired these companies as well!
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with four of his Harvard College friends on February 4, 2004. Although Facebook was initially created only for Harvard students, membership expanded to other Ivy League colleges and universities in America and then eventually to everybody in the whole world! Facebook became so popular that it had 500 million users by July 2010. Facebook also expanded its portfolio by buying Instagram for approximately US$1 Billion in 2012. And if you think that’s a huge price, Facebook also bought WhatsApp for the insane price of US$19 billion in 2014!!! So most of the popular social media platforms you are using today are owned by Facebook. And even more recently, Facebook announced a $5.7 billion deal with Reliance Industries to purchase 10% of Jio Platforms in April 2020. So now, Facebook even has a stake in Indian industries. Facebook has seen a steady increase in the number of its customers with over 2 billion users in 2017 followed by a decline in 2018. But this decline coincides with the increase in popularity of Instagram so whatever happens, Facebook Inc. is here to stay!
You are sitting in your home but you want to buy some new clothes? What do you do? You can easily buy them online on Amazon and get them delivered to your home! And not just clothes. Books, Electronics, Beauty Products, Kitchen Essentials, Toys, you name it and amazon delivers it! Amazon is the biggest e-commerce company on the planet and this warrants it a place in the “Big Four” category. But e-commerce is not all that amazon deals in. they have also established a foothold in cloud computing and artificial intelligence with Amazon Web Services and the online content provider market with Amazon Prime.
Amazon was started by Jeff Bezos in July 1994. It was originally intended to be an online bookstore but it turned out to be so much more than that! Amazon initially sold books in 50 States of America and over 45 countries in the first 2 months. They eventually moved on to selling music and videos in 1998 and then consumer electronics, software, video games, domestic products, toys, games, etc. in 1999. Amazon grew at an amazing speed with its revenues going from $15.7 million in 1996 to $610 million in 1998. This massage improvement in just 2 years leads to Jeff Bezos becoming Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 1999. However, Amazon didn’t just stop at e-commerce! Bezos always claimed that Amazon was a technology company and not a retail company and this was proved right with the launching of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2002. AWS initially offered data on web site popularity statistics, internet traffic patterns, and other online statistics for marketers, and it has since become an on-demand cloud computing platform for companies and governments with a monopoly on the market. Amazon also launched Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3) in 2006 which furthered their cloud computing portfolio. Currently, Amazon is involved in many projects beyond just online retailing but their main revenues still come from selling products online. However, Amazon Web Services is the most profitable of all Amazon ventures and that’s where most of the innovation and investment is targeted these days.
Chances are high that you use Microsoft Windows as your operating system (unless you own an Apple laptop of course!) And what about your office requirements? Whether you need to create documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, Microsoft Office is your best friend! And who can forget conducting meetings over Skype? Or creating a professional network over LinkedIn? As these companies are also owned by Microsoft, it can be said that almost all your whole range of professional requirements are handled by Microsoft!
Microsoft created by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, with Bill Gates as the CEO. Did you know that Microsoft is short for micro-computer software, which is what they originally dealt with! Microsoft came out with Microsoft Windows in 1985 as a graphical extension for MS-DOS and they built the Microsoft Office suite in 1990 when they released Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Microsoft continued with new updates of Windows periodically and then they ventured into the cloud computing market in 2008 with the Azure Services Platform. Microsoft also acquired Skype Technologies in 2011 to join its telecommunications portfolio. Because of increasing business interests, Microsoft decided to reorganize the business into four new business divisions in July 2013. These were Operating System, Cloud, Apps, and Devices, and all the previous divisions and employees were divided into these divisions. Consequently, Microsoft also bought Nokia’s mobile unit in the same year for $7 billion, which was described as a bold step at the time. Some other important acquisitions that Microsoft made were after Satya Nadella became its CEO on February 4, 2014. These included buying LinkedIn for the insane amount of $26.2 billion in 2016 and then GitHub for $7.5 billion in 2018. While Microsoft has seen many successes and failures until now, it seems to only be going up in both popularity and profitability in current times!