New York Times journalist Shira Ovide assessed the results of the week of financial reports and spoke about the conclusions.
My colleagues and I write a lot about unrealistic sales, profits and impressive results of five US technology giants-Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook.
It may seem that the news is outdated, because they were big and rich for a long time and became even bigger and richer, as people and companies needed their services during the pandemic.
But no, we don’t understand what happened. American IT stars have entered the stratosphere: they are in a completely different field than all other super-successful technology companies and not only.
Let me show you what is happening:
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the capitalization of the” big five ” is $9.3 trillion and exceeds the total capitalization of the next 27 most expensive US companies, including Tesla, Walmart and JPMorgan Chase.
Apple’s profit of $21.7 billion over the past three months has almost doubled the combined annual profit of the five largest US airlines for 2019 — when there was no pandemic and the airline business was doing well.
The growth of Amazon shares has made Jeff Bezos so rich that he can buy a new iPhone for 200 million people and still remain a billionaire.
Google’s revenue of $50 billion from April to June is the amount that all Americans spent on gasoline in June.
Microsoft’s LinkedIn revenue is almost four times more than that of Zoom — the main “star” of the 2020 pandemic.
Facebook plans to allocate more money in 2021 for the arrangement of its offices and computer centers than Exxon spends on oil and gas production worldwide in a year. ExxonMobil is one of the largest oil companies in the world.
Amazon’s financial statements on July 29 did not suit investors. But over the past year, the company’s revenue from the ecommerce direction increased by $109 billion — an increase that it took Walmart the last nine years to achieve.
There are a lot of strange things happening in the US economy right now. But I can’t adequately explain how abnormal these indicators are for IT giants. Maybe that’s why Bezos wanted to touch space so much: the “big five” outgrew the Earth.
It is more clear than ever that the US IT giants have formed a separate universe, where they are the Sun, and billions of people, companies, countries and governments are just planets that revolve around them.
What is even more surprising than the size and scale of these companies is how they have increased profits in economic conditions that should have hurt them.
I am confused by the fact that Amazon and Apple have shown higher profitability than in all previous years. This happened despite the fact that the pandemic forced companies to reorganize warehouses or factories, solve supply chain problems, fight for scarce components and spend a fortune to protect employees.
Chaos and unplanned spending were supposed to reduce the profits of companies, not increase it. Apple, however, still scared investors, saying that it may have problems with components in the next few months.
What does all this mean?
First, the US Congress or state prosecutors can look at the financial statements and ask: if the heads of the” big five “claim that they are facing fierce competition and “can die at any time”, then how can margins grow?
It is logical that if a company has a lot of competitors, then it may need to reduce prices, which will reduce profitability. But how does Facebook “turn” every dollar of advertising revenue into 43 cents of profit? This is a level that most companies can only dream of, and it is higher than Facebook had before the pandemic.