Visualize the finances of the world's largest companies: from IPO to today

Visualize the finances of the world’s largest companies: from IPO to today

In today’s fast-paced world, businesses must adapt if they want to stay relevant. Even Big Tech giants can’t get too comfortable – to stay competitive, big companies like Google and Amazon are constantly innovating and evolving.

This series of graphs of Truman you illustrates the income statements of five of the world’s largest companies – Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla and Alphabet – and shows how their financial statements have evolved since the date of their very first public disclosures.

Editor’s note: Click on any graphic to see a full-width version with higher resolution. Additionally, since these companies are in some cases 10,000 times the size they were on the IPO date, the two visual financial statements are not meant to be directly comparable in terms of size.

Visual income statements: from the IPO to today

Let’s start with Apple, the first company to go public and the biggest of the mix:

1. Apple

The Evolution of Apple's Revenue Streams

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In 1998, Apple was called “Apple Computer”, because at the time the company only sold computers and computer hardware kits. However, over the next decade, the company expanded its product offerings and began selling various consumer technology products such as phones, portable music players, and even tablets.

Apple’s consumer technology has been so successful that in 2007 the company decided to drop “Computer” from its name. Fast forward to today, and the company is also generating revenue through services like Apple TV and Apple Pay.

While computers are still the core of its business, the iPhone has become the company’s main revenue driver.

In 2021, Apple generated $94.7 billion in profit with a 26% margin. Today, the company is one of the only Big Tech companies that has been able to withstand falling valuations across the industry. With a market cap of over $2 trillion, the company is worth about the same as Amazon, Alphabet and Meta combined.


The Evolution of Microsoft's Revenue Streams

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Microsoft, one of the oldest companies on this list, went public in 1985. At the time, the company only sold microprocessors and software, hence the name Micro-soft.

And while Microsoft’s flagship operating system (Windows) is still one of its main revenue drivers, the company’s product offerings have become much more diverse.

Now, its revenue streams are split fairly evenly between its cloud service (Azure), productivity tools (Office), and personal computing (Xbox and Windows OS).

3. Amazon

The Evolution of Amazon's Revenue Streams

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When Amazon went public in 1997, the online retailer only sold books.

But in 1998, Amazon began rapidly expanding its product offering. Soon he was selling everything from CDs and toys to electronics, and even tools.

Fast forward to now, and Amazon’s e-commerce segment has become just one part of the company’s overall business.

Amazon is also a cloud service provider (AWS), a supermarket chain (with its Amazon Fresh grocery brands and its acquisition of Whole Foods) and even a video streaming service (Prime Video). In particular, AWS stands out as an important part of Amazon’s overall business, generating 74% of operating profits.

4. Alphabet letters

The Evolution of Alphabet's Revenue Streams

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When Google went public in 2003, it was a simple search engine that generated about $1.4 billion advertising revenue from its website and cloud network.

Today, the company (now renamed Alphabet) has become synonymous with the internet and accounts for an overwhelming majority of internet search traffic. For this reason, it generates hundreds of billions in advertising revenue every year.

The company also owns YouTube and has diversified into different verticals, such as consumer technology (Fitbit) and premium streaming (YouTube Premium and TV).


The Evolution of Tesla's Revenue Streams

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Tesla’s IPO was in 2008, making it the youngest company on the list. And as the newest kid on the block, Tesla’s revenue streams haven’t changed as drastically as the others.

However, while electric vehicles are still the company’s main revenue driver, Tesla has managed to dip its toes into other verticals over the past 10 years. For example, in 2021, approximately $2.8 billion of his $53.8 billion revenue came from energy generation and storage.

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This article was published as part of Visual Capitalist’s Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite creators from around the world.

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