Big Tech refers to the most prominent and influential IT companies in the U.S. Also known as the “Tech Giants,” “Big Four,” “Four Horsemen,” “Big Five,” or “S&P,” these comprise Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. These organizations are also part of the 2020 Fortune 500 list, each pulling a 2020 annual revenue ranging from US$70,697 to US$280,522 and has a market value amounting between US$475,455.20 and US$1,199,549.70. The following table shows these data points in greater detail:
How Does a Company Become Part of the Big Tech?
The four or five companies that came to be known as the “Big Tech” are characterized by the following:
- Millions of people depend on their services provided over the Internet.
- They gained dominance in their respective fields because they understood their markets and users’ needs and sought to deliver products that satisfy their customers.
- They influence the economy and society.
- They shape the way society progresses.
- Even if all of them were established in the U.S., they now have an established global presence and are continuously looking to expand into markets they have yet to penetrate.
- They continually strive to deliver better products and do not let failures stop them from growing.
What Can IT Companies Learn from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft?
Amazon is undoubtedly today’s largest e-commerce marketplace, cloud computing platform, and artificial intelligence (AI) assistance platform. It had the largest revenue in 2020 because it never stops disrupting well-established industries.
While Amazon began as an online marketplace, it successfully expanded into several sectors, including e-retailing, streaming, e-book publishing, smart home solution manufacturing, film and television show production, low-cost electronics manufacturing, online gaming, and web service provision, among others. Its massive network enabled it to become a global tech leader.
Despite its evident dominance, Amazon continues to venture into new industries by seeking innovative ways to take it forward. Examples of these include its foray into space exploration with Blue Origin and satellite beaming with Kuiper, driverless delivery services with Amazon Scout, and blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) with the Amazon Managed Blockchain (AMB).
Apple was valued over US$1 trillion as early as August 2018, making it the first publicly traded U.S. company to hit the US$1-trillion mark. To this day, it is considered a leader in innovation, continuously providing unmatched products and services, allowing it to gain tremendous brand loyalty.
Compared with its Big Tech comrades, Apple excels in data security and privacy. It also wholly revolutionized our technology use with the iPad’s launch way back in 2010, ushering in the Internet of Things (IoT). Apart from Macs, iPads, and iPhones, it also offers Apple Homepod, Apple Watch, and Apple Music.
Facebook has become synonymous with social networking. It remains the go-to platform for those looking to connect with old friends or make new ones, as evidenced by its billions of monthly active users.
Facebook began connecting Harvard students with one another before being made publicly available. When it started, it ousted then the most popular social networking sites Myspace and Orkut. Today, it earns based on an ad revenue model.
To keep its dominance despite having the smallest revenue and market value, Facebook always strives to look for ways to give its users an excellent social media experience. Its tech team also stays abreast of technological advancements in various fields. And in a bid to expand its business, it acquired Instagram in March 2012 for US$1 billion and WhatsApp in February 2014 for US$19 billion.
Google, of course, is most people’s preferred search engine. It indexes hundreds of terabytes of data from millions of web pages, making it so efficient that users can get their queries resolved by just looking at the top 5 search results. It also allows image-based searches.
Apart from its search engine, Google also provides software for both personal and enterprise use. It offers email service Gmail and runs the video-sharing site YouTube and app store Google Play as well. While it earns most of its revenue from ads, it strives never to hinder user experience. Google also gives advertisers insights and analytics so they can reach more people. As a company, Google always focuses on its users and their needs.
In the past few years, Google also began excelling in providing premium hardware, such as Google Pixel and Google Home.
Even though Microsoft is not part of the Big Four, it is the biggest earner and has the highest market value. It continues to dominate in terms of desktop operating system (OS) and office productivity market shares with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, respectively.
Microsoft is also the second-biggest company in the cloud computing industry, with Microsoft Azure trailing only after Amazon. It is also one of the most prominent players in the video gaming industry with its Xbox.
The Big Tech continues to show tremendous growth even amid the ensuing global pandemic. But while they understand and work hard toward constantly enhancing user experience, politicians and some of the public believe they (except for Microsoft) have recently been going overboard and bordering on abusing their users’ data privacy. What we know, though, is that new IT companies can learn a lot from them.