Big Tech

The logos of the 'Big Five' tech companies: Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.
The tech giants' logos/symbols, from left to right: Google (Alphabet), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft.
US Big Tech Companies
Company Revenue Profit Employees Subsidiaries
Big Five
Amazon US$470 billion US$33 billion 2,300,000 Audible
Whole Foods
Apple US$366 billion US$95 billion 154,000 Beats Electronics
Alphabet, Inc. (Google) US$258 billion US$76 billion 156,000 Android
Microsoft US$168 billion US$61 billion 181,000 Github
Meta Platforms (Facebook) US$118 billion US$39 billion 71,970 Instagram
Reality Labs (Oculus)
Other Big Tech Companies
Tesla US$54 billion US$6 billion 99,200
Oracle US$40 billion US$14 billion 132,000 Cerner
Netflix US$30 billion US$5 billion 11,300
Nvidia US$27 billion US$10 billion 22,473
Salesforce US$26 billion US$1 billion 73,541 Tableau
Adobe US$16 billion US$5 billion 25,988

Big Tech, also known as the Tech Giants, Big Four or Big Five, is a name given to the four or five largest, most dominant companies in the information technology industry of the United States. The Big Four consists of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, with broader groupings also including Tesla, Meta, Twitter, and Netflix.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Companies like Tencent and Alibaba Group serve as the equivalents of Big Tech in Asian regions.

The tech giants are the dominant players in their respective areas of technology, namely: e-commerce, online advertising, consumer electronics, cloud computing, computer software, media streaming, artificial intelligence, smart home, self-driving cars, and social networking. They have been among the most valuable public companies globally,[7] each having had a maximum market capitalization ranging from around $1 trillion to above $3 trillion.[8] They are additionally considered to be among the most prestigious and selective employers in the world.[9][10][11][12]

Big Tech companies typically offer services to millions of users, and thus can hold sway on user behavior as well as control of user data.[13] Concerns over monopolistic practices have led to antitrust investigations from the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission in the United States,[14][15][16] and the European Commission.[17] Commentators have questioned the impact of these companies on privacy, market power, free speech, censorship, national security and law enforcement.[18] It has been speculated that it may not be possible to live in the digital world day-to-day outside of the ecosystem created by the companies.[19]

The concept of Big Tech is analogous to the consolidation of market dominance by a few companies in other market sectors such as "Big Oil" and "Big Media".[20] "Big Tech" may also refer to historical versions of this concept, with the likes of Microsoft, IBM and AT&T considered to be dominant companies in this industry in the mid to late 20th century.[21]

  1. ^ "The Economics of Big Tech". Financial Times. March 29, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  2. ^ "We're Stuck With the Tech Giants. But They're Stuck With Each Other". New York Times. November 13, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "The 'Big Five' Could Destroy the Tech Ecosystem". November 15, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  4. ^ "Tesla Just Officially Became Big Tech After Surging Beyond $1 Trillion in Market Value". October 25, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  5. ^ Bergan, Brad. "Tesla Has Officially Become Big Tech After Surging Beyond $1 Trillion in Market Value". Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  6. ^ Levy, Ari (December 31, 2020). "Tech's top seven companies added $3.4 trillion in value in 2020". CNBC. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  7. ^ "Most Valuable Companies in the World - 2020". FXSSI - Forex Sentiment Board. Archived from the original on January 27, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  8. ^ Balu, Nivedita (January 3, 2022). "Apple becomes first company to hit $3 trillion market value, then slips". Reuters. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  9. ^ "Top Companies 2021: The 50 best workplaces to grow your career in the U.S." Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  10. ^ Bariso, Justin (May 30, 2021). "Life at Google vs. Life at Amazon: From Hiring to Firing (and Everything in Between)". Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  11. ^ Schneider, Michael (July 26, 2017). "Google Gets 2 Million Applications a Year. To Have a Shot, Your Resume Must Pass the '6-Second Test'". Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  12. ^ Jackson, Abby. "14 things that are harder to get into than Harvard". Business Insider. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  13. ^ Hendrickson, Clara; Galston, William A. (May 28, 2019). "Big tech threats: Making sense of the backlash against online platforms". Brookings Institute. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  14. ^ Rey, Jason Del (February 6, 2020). "Why Congress's antitrust investigation should make Big Tech nervous". Vox. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  15. ^ PYMNTS (December 11, 2019). "DOJ To Wrap Up Probe Into Big Tech In 2020". Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  16. ^ GmbH, finanzen net. "The DOJ's latest probe erased $33 billion from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google | Markets Insider". Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  17. ^ "Is Margrethe Vestager championing consumers or her political career?". The Economist. September 14, 2017. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  18. ^ Privacy, power and censorship: how to regulate big tech, April 29, 2019
  19. ^ "It's almost impossible to function without the big five tech giants | John Naughton". the Guardian. February 17, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  20. ^ Oremus, Will (November 17, 2017). "Big Tobacco. Big Pharma. Big Tech?". Slate. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  21. ^ Researcher, C. Q. (September 14, 2021). Issues for Debate in American Public Policy: Selections from CQ Researcher. ISBN 9781071835258.

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