AMERICA’S TECH giants make ungodly amounts of money. In 2021 the combined revenue of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft reached $1.4trn. These riches come from a wide and constantly expanding set of sources: from phones and pharmaceuticals to video-streaming and virtual assistants. Analysts expect the tech quintet’s combined sales to have surpassed $340bn in the first three months of 2022, up by 7% compared with the same period last year. In a quarterly ritual that kicks off on April 26th, when the big five start reporting their latest earnings, the staggering headline numbers will once again turn into headline news.
Big tech firms are understandably eager to trumpet these impressive figures, as well as their diverse offerings. They are considerably more coy about how much many of their products and services actually make. Annual reports and other public disclosures tend to lump large revenue streams together and describe them in the vaguest terms. Last year, for example, the five giants’ sales were split out into 32 business segments in total. That compares with 56 segments for America’s five highest-earning non-tech firms.
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