Biggest Tech Companies and How They Got There

By Tomasz Wisniewski |

Published: March 22 2022, 09:49 GMT+0

Biggest Tech Companies and How They Got There

Tags:

We’ve all heard about the top tech corporations and we know how big their impact is, which came after a long journey of ups and downs.

The Tech industry plays a major role in the world’s economy, and researchers estimate that the technology companies contribute by around 15% to the global GDP, and by 10% to the total output of the US.

Most of the blue-chip companies have gone through a digital bubble, financial crisis, global pandemic, and lockdowns, that changed the rule of the game for these companies, and for the industry overall. Companies had to adapt and change skin in order to remain competitive, and some of them hit rock bottom before blowing and becoming top of the industry.

In the following, we will be talking about today’s top 10 tech companies, highlighting the major events in their lifetime and what lessons other companies can learn from these tech gurus.

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • Alphabet
  • Meta
  • Tesla
  • Nvidia
  • Netflix
  • Shopify
  • PayPal

Amazon

The e-commerce pioneer managed to shift from an online bookstore to a worldwide online retailer, cloud solution provider, and one of the most technologically advanced companies around the world. This success came with launching several products and services that picked up the company’s stock price.

  • In 2003 Amazon launched the first version of the cloud service, which helped the company recover and boost its sale. It was also able to grow its stock price by more than 150% after the dot com bubble took the digital companies by a storm.
  • Four years later, Amazon added more services to its portfolio after releasing its e-book reader Kindle, launching Amazon music, Amazon fresh, and introducing Amazon Prime in Europe. This helped the company expand its network and globally and grow its stock price by 142%.
  • Amazon recovered well from the financial crisis of 2007-2008. Its products were selling enormously well, offsetting the increased costs of producing its flagship product Kindle.
  • In 2017, Amazon started strategic acquisitions such as Whole Foods, and other companies in smart home technologies. It helped the company expand its business lines and increase its stock price value by more than 50%.
  • The year 2020 was a roller coaster for Amazon when the pandemic was announced causing companies around the world to downsize their staff and operations. Amazon was also hit with a scandal of firing employees who were calling to improve their working conditions. However, Amazon still closed the year with a 100% growth in stock value.
  • In 2021, the growth slowed down due to physical stores’ resumption, labor, and supply chain shortages, besides Jeff Bezos stepping down. The stock price grew only 5%
  • AWS cloud services remained a huge source of income for Amazon, contributing to 15% of the company’s revenue as the tech industry faced bearish sentiment in 2022.

Microsoft

The software leader has been around for more than 40 years, introducing one of the first operating systems that we use today. Microsoft is the main producer for most softwares, search engines, browsers, consoles, and cloud computing systems that are commonly used. The long successful history of the company started before any competition.

  • During the 1990s, Microsoft launched the first Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office suite, which helped the company grab a huge market share, facing no competition in the industry. Therefore, MSFT stock value grew more than 5,500% within 10 years and through the peak of the dot com bubble.
  • After the dot com bubble was burst in 2001, Microsoft announced entering the gaming industry through its console Xbox, introduced the Windows XP, and initiated the dot net framework in internet browsing. That helped the company regain some of its weight.
  • Microsoft was hit with heavy fines by the EU in 2004 and 2007 and had to pay $600 million, then $1 billion in penalties.
  • 2008 was another tough year, the merger with Yahoo collapsed, and Google launched a competitive web browser “Google Chrome”.
  • Launching Windows 7 in 2009 was a milestone for Microsoft as the company gained 200% in stock value. This was followed by acquiring Skype in 2011, launching Windows 10, and entering major partnerships in the Chinese market. That gave the company the  ability to gain another 75% on its stock price.
  • The pandemic in 2020 naturally caused the company to shrink its operations, and negative predictions caused its stock price to decline by 26%. Microsoft responded by providing cloud and virtual means of communication to remotely operating businesses around the world, which helped the company to increase its stock price by 60%.

Apple

The company went through critical stages before becoming today’s popular phone manufacturer. After opening and closing several product lines, Apple finally found the business model that works the best and is excelling in consistently developing its products.

  • In the 1980s, Apple embarked on developing computers, computers software, and operating systems. Lisa was the first computer system sold commercially by Apple, it seemed like a successful product, but reviews unfolded more flaws in this PC, in addition to expensive retail prices.
  • In the 1990s, Apple started manufacturing several electronics such as home appliances, cameras, and audio/video players. However, they failed due to high costs and expensive prices.
  • 1997, Steve Jobs returned to office, made major changes in the company starting from ceasing operations on inferior products, and focusing on a few main products.
  • Between 1997 and 2000, Apple’s stock price grew more than 400% due to the correct management by Jobs, which provided advancement in its products the iMac and iBook.
  • After the dot com bubble burst in 2001, Apple kept on producing more iBooks and iMacs, in addition to producing its flagship iPod. The company’s stock price grew more than 900% until another milestone was marked in 2007.
  • In 2007, the first iPhone was released, marking a huge milestone – more than 250,000 units were sold in the first two days after the release, and the stock price grew more than 130% by the end of the year.
  • In 2010, Apple recovered from the financial crisis of 2007-08 by releasing a wholly new product – the iPad – which raised the company stock price by +50%.
  • The death of Steve Jobs in 2011 did not really affect the company, stocks grew by more than 15%.
  • In 2012 Apple faced a lawsuit against Samsung and paid $1 billion in damages. And in 2017 another scandal took place this time about tax evasion and Apple lost 60% of its stock price.
  • After a stagnating growth in the first quarter of 2020, Apple released more products and announced a stock split which attracted more investors to buy Apple shares, causing the stock price to grow more than 110%.

Alphabet

Alphabet is a technology company that uses its web search engine as the main product, besides a huge batch of services such as cloud storing, e-mail platform, online communication tools, and internet technology software. Google which was later named Alphabet Inc. made its way to the top by developing products and services that are consumed by almost every internet user.

  • One year after the IPO, Google grew its stock price by +125% in 2005. This huge growth came due to large speculations given the successful business model prior to the IPO.
  • Google was harshly hit by the financial crisis of 2007-08, many businesses could not afford to advertise using google services, and the ad revenue started to decline, causing the stock price to drop 70%.
  • In 2008, Google started using cookie-based tracking and introduced Google Chrome which provided a smoother internet browsing experience over its competitor from Microsoft. The stock price grew more than 100% between 2008 and 2010.
  • In 2015, after expanding to more than 40 countries, Google rebranded itself into Alphabet Inc. and included Google services such as Google search, Gmail, YouTube, G Suite under its umbrella. This move caused its stock price to grow more than 55%.
  • In 2018 and 2019 Alphabet Inc. faced fines by the European Commission, both allegations penalized Google for a total of $7.5 billion within 2 years, causing the stock to remain shaky between $1,100 and $1,200 for two years.
  • Q1 of 2020, Alphabet lost around 35% of its stock price. However, starting from April 2020, Alphabet Inc. developed its services to fit the working-from-home settings and managed to gain more than 60% on its stock price.
  • In 2021, Alphabet grew its stock price by more than 60% due to increased advertising, more companies resumed operations and used the Google platform to promote its products and services.

Meta

The famous social network platform transformed from a university project into one of the most used social media platforms, and a leader in terms of viral marketing, augmented virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. During its lifetime, the Facebook company provided some unprecedented technological advancements and faced some legal controversies.

  • Facebook provided a revolutionary social media platform, this high speculation led the stock price to grow more than 130% in the first six months from its IPO in 2012.
  • In 2013, Facebook revamped the features of its application and improved the user interface, such as the timeline and the search function.
  • By 2015, Facebook acquired WhatsApp and Instagram, announcing the three social media platforms, and improving the used algorithm to promote integration between the three apps. The stock price grew by more than 250% between 2013 and 2015.
  • In 2018, Facebook faced a series of legal and political controversies. Starting from the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal when millions of Facebook users’ accounts were found to be collected by a British company for political reasons.
  • Once again in 2018, the founder and CEO of Facebook was summoned to the United States Congress. The hearing was held in light of increased rumors about Facebook breaching the privacy policies. These events caused the stock price to drop by 20%.
  • In 2019, the FTC fined Facebook $5 billion as a result of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytics scandal, the stock price declined more than 10% in less than one month
  • Facebook did not start 2021 in the best way. There were many speculations about its role in the January events of the Capitol riots. Facebook was accused of failing to inhibit hate speech and misinformation, causing the stock price to drop 7% in one week.
  • In Oct 2021 a whistleblower mentioned that Facebook prioritized profits over profiles’ privacy, followed by the Facebook CEO announcing the rebranding of the company to Meta Platforms.
  • These two events in almost one month caused some speculations about the future of the company, pulling the stock price to decline more than 10% in two weeks.

Tesla

Tesla Inc. is an electric car manufacturer, that figured its way from basic car production to a leading tech company, sending cars to the roads, and rockets to space. The company has boomed in the last couple of years, with a few controversies that shaped Tesla Inc. today.

  • Tesla stock started trading in 2010, the stock price increased 30% in the first month, because of the high expectations and speculations about Tesla earnings and sales.
  • In 2012, when Tesla announced discontinuing the Roadster car model, the stock price declined 20% in 10 days. The model was one of the highly demanded products of Tesla.
  • Later in 2012, the stock price increased by 35% when Tesla started producing more models and increased the network of its charging stations around the US.
  • In 2013, Tesla’s sales were performing well, the stock price increased by 350%. However, later accidents and cars catching fire caused the stock price to drop by 35%.
  • From 2013 to 2015, the stock price increased more than 90% after producing auto-pilot cars. Tesla also started investing in the energy storage sectors, such as batteries, home supplies, and office power units.
  • In 2016 the stock price dropped by 25% after incidents including auto-driving bugs in Hong Kong, Model X software gaps, and a driver who died in an auto-driving car accident.
  • By 2020, Tesla produced more models, improved its autopilot systems in the cars, entered the Chinese market, and had good sales run. The stock price increased more than 170%
  • In 2021 Tesla was allegedly forcing minorities to work in Chinese factories, which caused its stock price to drop by 35%. However, the company later invested in robotics and self-driving cars, which increased the stock price by +100% by the 2nd half of 2021.

Nvidia

Nvidia is a leading semiconductor producer and graphic cards manufacturer. The company is known for its high-quality products, and powerful GPUs when it comes to gaming and crypto mining, and the latter contributed to the huge boom of the company’s finances.

  • Throughout 2004-2008, Nvidia’s stock price soared by more than 1,100% due to multiple acquisitions and partnerships with several developers companies, most importantly with Sony in producing PlayStation 3.
  • The stock dropped down after some GPU failures in 2009, and the stock price remained in stagnation until the cryptocurrency boom in 2016.
  • Nvidia’s stock price and sales performance were highly associated with cryptocurrency mining. Crypto miners used the powerful GPUs produced by Nvidia.
  • Nvidia’s stock price grew more than 360% between 2016 and 2018 due to the great valuation of most cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin.
  • In 2019, when most cryptocurrencies’ prices dropped, Nvidia’s stock price dropped by around 50%.
  • When the Covid-19 pandemic was announced in 2020, more people spent time at home, demanding more GPUs for their gaming computers, and for cryptocurrency mining.
  • In 2020, the stock price increased by 120%. Nvidia produced another series of powerful Pascal-based graphic cards.
  • In 2021, cryptocurrency mining increased with more cryptos coming into existence. Additionally, Nvidia invested in AI technology, providing artificial intelligence in automobiles and virtual reality technology – the stock price increased by 135%.
  • In 2022, the stock price declined by around 35%, and the situation was the same for most tech companies. That was due to lifting restrictions on movement and travel and resulted in lower demand for gaming and mining GPUs.

Netflix

The online streaming service provider was very active in the last couple of years, with more people turning to subscription-based TV shows, series, and movies. Netflix managed to develop its services, from broadcasting shows on its platform to create original content.

  • In 2018, Netflix had some agreements with Paramount pictures and Sky UK, more people subscribed causing the stock price to increase by 100% until the summer.
  • Starting from the summer of 2018, the Football world cup took place and drove more attention worldwide, Netflix lost subscribers and the stock price dropped 80%.
  • In 2020 more people indulged in watching movies and series, subscriptions increased and the stock price jumped by 80%. Netflix initiated more partnerships with Nickelodeon, ViacomCBS, and Sony.
  • The stock price of Netflix is associated with lockdown and restrictions of movement. In 2021 waves of the pandemic were up and down, causing the stock price to fluctuate. Finally, it closed the year with a slight growth of 20%.
  • In 2022 when the Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed in most countries, people started going out of their homes, abandoning some of their TV shows on Netflix, causing the stock price to drop by around 50%.

Shopify

Shopify can be overlooked, but its stocks present a great investment opportunity due to the huge growth the company witnessed over the last couple of years. Mostly motivated by the pandemic and merchandise moving to online stores.

  • Since 2017, Shopify started improving its services, making it more user-friendly. The company updated the checkout process, integrated credit cards, and facilitated the payment for businesses, which caused the stock price to increase by 135%.
  • In late 2017, the stock was hurt by research that warned investors from Shopify, claiming that the company entails an illegal quick-gain scheme. As a result, the stock price decreased by 15% in two weeks.
  • In 2019 the stock price grew more than 185%. Shopify expanded to new markets, added more features for online retailers, and enabled capital funding options, which motivated more businesses to use Shopify’s e-commerce platform.
  • When the pandemic was announced in 2020, people turned to online shopping, and stores turned to selling their products online. E-commerce boomed and Shopify stock price increased tremendously by more than 275% in 9 months.
  • In 2021, the stock valuation continued, and Shopify’s stock price jumped another 55% until November, when restrictions were lifted in many countries, causing the stock price to drop by 20%.
  • The stock price continued dropping in 2022, losing around 30% of its value because businesses returned to physical shops, and shoppers could shop in stores.

PayPal

The online payment provider had quite a successful start due to the revolutionary service it provided. However, later when other providers came into competition, PayPal did not remain a pioneer in online payment services, but recent years witnessed interesting stock movement.

  • Important partnerships and acquisitions helped PayPal grow its stock price, such as iZettle payment provider in Sweden, Honey in the US, PayPal subsidiary Venmo was performing well in the US, and partnering with Instagram as a new checkout feature.
  • In 2017-2018, PayPal’s stock value rose more than 135%.
  • In 2019 PayPal continued its partnerships, this time with Uber, besides developing its own blockchain technology. Speculations were high for PayPal, causing the stock price to grow 33%.
  • In 2020 when the pandemic was announced, businesses turned to work from home, and people around the world were paid using online methods of payments. PayPal was used in most e-commerce platforms and its stock price increased more than 120%.
  • In 2021, stores in the majority of countries could operate in physical shops, leading to fewer people shopping online and paying with PayPal. Therefore, the stock price dropped by 35%.
  • The decline in the stock price continued in 2022, and PayPal lost around 40% of its stock value.

Tech stocks investing portfolio (Jan 2019 vs Jan 2022)

CorporationSharesStock price (2019)InvestmentStock price (2022)Investment
Amazon2$1,640$3,280$3,251$6,502
Microsoft5$102$510$314$1,570
Apple10$38$380$172$1,720
Alphabet2$1,057$2,114$2,740$5,480
Meta (ex. Facebook)5$144$720$331$1,655
Tesla3$70$209$1,027$3,081
Nvidia10$37$370$272$2,720
Netflix4$337$1,348$541$2,164
Shopify5$149$745$1,144$5,720
PayPal4$90$360$187$748
Total investment50$10,036212.49%$31,360
Back