We all know the big five tech giants: Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. They rule the technology industry, with the value of the five companies reaching over $5 trillion. It might make you wonder: how did these five companies reach their status as tech giants? Let’s take a look.
Google has become an integral part of our society. Want to know what actor is in the movie you are watching? Google it! Need to know how to fix a household item? Google it! There is a chance that you are reading this piece on Google Chrome. So, how did Google start? And where are they today?
How Google Started
Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who met in 1995 at Stanford University. Page and Brin had one mission with Google: to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Seems like a reachable goal, right? After receiving its first investment of $100,000 in 1998, Google Inc. was officially launched as an internet search engine.
In 2000, Google added AdWords to their services, allowing businesses to create online ad campaigns, and in 2004, Google launched Gmail, which had 1.5 billion active users by 2019. They also launched Google Maps in the same year, with Google Earth following in 2005. Since then, they have acquired YouTube, launched Android and Google Chrome, created smart home speakers powered by Google Assistant, and restructured the company as Alphabet.
Where Google Is Today
Today, Alphabet Inc. is the parent and holding company for Google and other companies tied to Google. In 2021, Google generated $209 billion in ad revenue, which accounted for more than 82% of Alphabet’s total revenue. Google is not going anywhere anytime soon!
Apple is another company that has quickly integrated itself into the everyday lives of individuals. From smartphones to watches, laptops, and streaming services, Apple quickly took over a huge portion of the technology industry. Let’s look at how it happened.
How Apple Started
Apple was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak with one goal in mind: to make a user-friendly computer. What started as an operation in Jobs’ garage quickly grew, with the team making $7.8 million in 1978 and $117 million in 1980 from the sales of their computers. Jobs and Wozniak both ended up leaving the company – Wozniak in 1983 and Jobs in 1985, though Steve Jobs returned and became the official CEO of Apple in 2000.
After Jobs returned to Apple, the company created the iBook and the iPod, a portable mp3 player that would soon lead the market in audio technology. The product that most people associate with Apple, the iPhone, was released in 2007, with many variations and new versions having been released over the past 15 years.
Where Apple Is Today
Apple became a $2 trillion company in 2020 and has expanded its products to include the Apple Watch, Air Pods, its own payment system Apple Pay, a credit card, and a streaming service, Apple TV+.
What started as an online bookstore has grown into a service most people rely on for everyday items and even groceries. How did Amazon get there? Let’s check it out.
How Amazon Started
Amazon was founded on July 5th, 1994, by Jeff Bezos. It was originally an online store meant only to sell books, though Bezos says he always wanted Amazon to be “an everything store.” The early days of the company looked a lot like the early days of Apple, with employees working out of Bezos’ garage. After opening a second distribution site and taking the company public, Amazon expanded its inventory to include music and DVDs in 1998 and included 3rd party sellers in its marketplace, which garnered 250,000 customers over the first four months.
The feature most everyone is familiar with, Amazon Prime, launched in 2005. The program launched at $79 a year and guaranteed two-day shipping. Today, Prime has more than 200 million members worldwide and is one of the most valuable features of Amazon.
Since 2005, Amazon has released products such as the Kindle (an e-reader) and a smart speaker called the Echo. They have acquired Audible for audiobooks, the game streaming site Twitch, and Whole Foods. In 2018, the company reached a $1 trillion market cap.
Where Amazon Is Today
During the pandemic in 2020, Amazon’s profits soared. In the first three months of 2021, Amazon reported that sales were up 44% from the year before. Amazon is in the process of building its new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, valued at $2.5 billion. With Jeff Bezos stepping down as CEO of the company, it is hard to tell exactly where the company will go, but, likely, it will only continue to grow.
Most of us either use Facebook or have used Facebook in the past. It is a global social networking system that connects millions of people. But it did not start that way.
How Facebook Started
Mark Zuckerberg wrote the code for Facebook in 2004. He launched the website, which he called “The Facebook” from his dorm room at Harvard University. The site was originally intended to be a private social media platform for college students. At first, only Harvard students were allowed to join, but the site expanded to allow all college students to join, and by September 2004 the site had one million users. In September of 2006, Facebook made the site public to all users above the age of 13.
By 2007, there were 50 million users on Facebook and over 100,000 business pages. Over the next couple of years, the site introduced features such as Chat, Facebook Ads, and in 2009, the Like button. Facebook became the third-largest web company in 2010, valued at $41 billion! Since then, Facebook has acquired Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and Atlas.
Where Facebook Is Today
In October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook as Meta, whose goal is to “bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.” The company intends to build the metaverse responsibly by collaborating with “policymakers, experts, and industry partners to bring [the metaverse] to life.”
How Microsoft Started
Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975 to build software for personal computers. By 1980, Microsoft partnered with IBM to create the operating system for IBM’s first personal computer. In 1985, Microsoft announced the first version of the operating system, Windows.
Microsoft remained a company that created operating systems, namely the Windows system, for a couple of decades. They ventured into the gaming world with the creation of the Xbox in 2001 and have since released many different versions of the gaming console.
In 2008, the company launched Windows Azure, an internet version of the operating system, before fully immersing itself in the cloud in 2011 with the launch of Office 365. Over the years, Microsoft has acquired Skype, LinkedIn, GitHub, Havok, Obsidian, Mojang, ZeniMax Media, and Activision Blizzard, among many others.
Where Microsoft Is Today
Microsoft continues to advance its technology. Azure now provides its cloud services to 140 countries worldwide and they have built a new supercomputer that will inform and train large AI (Artificial Intelligence) models. Additionally, Microsoft announced an initiative in 2020 to help 25 million people gain digital skills to help them in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entering the tech industry might seem intimidating, especially when looking at the success of the tech giants. However, many of these companies no longer require a technology degree to apply for positions. They care more that you have the skills necessary to do the job. With help from Woz Partners, you can get the training you need to pursue a career in tech. When you are ready to begin your journey, we will help you find the best option and assist you every step of the way.