- The current stock market value of the Big Five ($9.3 trillion) is more than the value of the next 27 most valuable US companies put together, including corporate giants like Tesla, Walmart and JPMorgan Chase, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
- Apple’s profit just from the past three months ($21.7 billion) was nearly double the combined annual profits of the five largest US airlines in pre-pandemic 2019.
- Amazon’s stock price increases have made Jeff Bezos so rich that he could buy a new model iPhone for 200 million people—and he would still be a billionaire.
- Google’s $50 billion in revenue from selling advertisements from April to June was about what Americans—all Americans—spent on gasoline and gas station purchases last month.
- The annual revenue of one of Microsoft’s side businesses, LinkedIn, is nearly four times that of Zoom Video Communications, a star of the pandemic, in the past year.
- Facebook expects to dole out more cash outfitting its computer hubs and offices in 2021 than Exxon spends around the world to dig oil and gas out of the ground in a year.
- Amazon fell short of investors’ expectations Thursday. But in the past year, Amazon’s e-commerce revenue still climbed by $109 billion—an increase in a single year that Walmart needed the past nine years to reach.
I have been befuddled that Amazon and Apple have shown higher profit margins than those companies have had for years—possibly ever. That has happened even though the pandemic has forced those companies to reorganize factories or warehouses, deal with disrupted global shipping, scramble for parts in short supply and spend a fortune to keep their workers safe.
That chaos and unplanned spending should have made the companies less profitable, not more so. (Apple did spook investors a little by saying this week that it was having trouble getting all the parts it needs for the next few months.)
What does all this mean? Well, for one thing, members of Congress or state attorneys general might look at the numbers and ask if, as the Big Tech companies say, they face stiff competition and could die at any moment, how could profit margins keep going up like this?
Logic would suggest that if the companies are fighting off lots of rivals, they might have to cut prices, and profit margins would shrink. So how does Facebook turn each dollar of revenue, nearly all from ads it sells, into 43 cents of profit — a level that most companies can only dream of, and higher than Facebook posted before the pandemic?
I have asked over and over in this newsletter whether America’s Big 5 tech titans are invincible. As the gap keeps widening between the superrich tech superstars and the merely super, I am starting to believe that the answer is yes.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times .