Topline: Another tech behemoth is about to join the $1 trillion club, with the stock market value of Google parent Alphabet on the cusp of passing the milestone for the first time, which would make it the fourth big tech company to do so, the Financial Times first reported on Monday.
Google’s market value currently sits at $985 billion, within 1% of the $1 trillion threshold as Wall Street bets that the company will report another quarter of strong advertising sales when it announces earnings on February 3.
Google’s sales are largely still growing by as fast as they did ten years ago: The tech giant still reports revenue growth of around 20%, despite its $160 billion in sales amounting to more than five times the level seen in 2010.
Google’s continued growth over the last decade has been due to the strength of its core advertising business, key value acquisitions like YouTube and expansion into other fast-growing areas—such as cloud computing and its “moonshot” projects, like self-driving car division Waymo.
Apple was the first public company to surpass a $1 trillion market cap in August 2018. With its stock returning a whopping 86% in 2019, the iPhone maker has continued to forge ahead, currently boasting a $1.36 trillion market cap.
Microsoft followed Apple, hitting the $1 trillion mark during the first half of 2019—making it the second company to pass the milestone. It’s now worth $1.23 trillion.
While Amazon also surpassed $1 trillion in value back in 2018, the company has since fallen back below that threshold, with its market cap currently sitting at $934 billion.
Tangent: The stock market value of another big tech company, Facebook, is also at all-time highs. Thanks to its stock hitting new records, returning over 51% in 2019, the company is now worth $622 billion.
Key background: Google stock returned 26% last year, and is up nearly 5% so far in 2020. The company’s shares have continued to move higher recently, thanks to a historic leadership change last month—where new CEO Sundar Pichai will take over for cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin—and despite a recent backdrop of growing calls for stronger antitrust and privacy regulation.
What to watch for: All four tech companies are still dwarfed in size by Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state oil giant, which went public in a long-awaited IPO last month. Aramco’s current market value is $1.87 trillion, which is still short of the $2 trillion valuation originally sought by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—but more than enough to overtake the most valuable U.S. companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google.