Science & Technology

‘Big Five’ US tech companies earn $94 billion in last quarter of 2023

By Nora Quintanilla

New York, US, Feb 1 (EFE). – The leading five technology companies in the United States, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft, earned 94 billion dollars in the last quarter of 2023, showing sustained growth and, in some cases, capping a spectacular year.

The Big Five reported earnings this week that generally beat analyst expectations. A new bonanza, driven in part by advances in artificial intelligence that restored the appeal of their stocks after the pandemic “boom” fizzled.

In the most recent quarter, Apple stood out above all others with profits of $33.9 billion, up 13%, followed by Microsoft ($21.8 billion, up 33%), Meta ($14 billion, up threefold), Alphabet ($13.6 billion, up 52%) and Amazon ($10.6 billion, up 30-fold).

Apple became the first tech company to reach $3 trillion in market capitalization, closely followed by Microsoft, which also reached the milestone last week, underscoring the boost AI is giving these companies.

Microsoft’s top executive Satya Nadella, who scored a win with his investment deal in OpenAI, the creator of the generative chatbot ChatGPT, attributed the strong results to the integration of AI throughout the company’s operations.

The intelligent cloud is another common element among companies: Amazon Web Services, the e-commerce giant’s third largest segment, has the largest market share, but others are quickly gaining ground, particularly Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

Only three tech companies ended their 2023 fiscal year in December, but did so in style: Amazon rebounded from losses in 2022, earning 30.4 billion on a 12% increase in revenue to 574.7 billion, boosted by holiday sales.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, earned 73.7 billion in 2023, up 23%, and had revenues of 307.3 billion, up 9%; and Meta, which earned 39 billion, up 68%, and had revenues of 134.9 billion, up 16%.

But it’s important to remember that throughout 2023, these companies underwent massive layoffs that swept the tech sector.

Amazon, for example, shed nearly 27,000 employees in the first half of the year, and the “efficiency” cuts continue, presumably also driven by new automation.

However, the “Big Five” have continued to grow despite economic uncertainty and regulatory scrutiny.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the companies have been in hot water over the protection of minors on social media and respect for privacy, in others over the management of hate speech, and also over abuses of free competition in the AI market.

On Wednesday, Meta’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, underwent a tough grilling by the US Congress that led him to apologize to the parents of minors harmed by its social networks, victims of sexual exploitation, or the sale of illegal drugs hosted on its platforms.

It is also worth noting that Meta’s Reality Labs division, which develops the virtual worlds of the metaverse and its devices, continues to show losses, which the company planned to rely on the youngest users to grow, according to reports last year. EFE

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