Apple, Google, Microsoft: Follow the Money

What is the difference between Apple, Google, and Microsoft? The “Big Three” tech companies, while in competition with each other in various segments, each have their own distinct financial profile: the best way to understand the differences between these three publicly traded companies is to look at the detailed reports each is required to file every quarter.

Here’s the breakdown, using the segments that each company uses to define how its business is organized:


Apple is a hardware company, with the majority of its revenue coming from products that didn’t exist seven years ago: the iPhone and the iPad:




Advertising revenues made up 96 percent of Google revenues in 2010 and 2011, but that picture changed slightly with Google’s attempt to move into hardware manufacturing via its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, as you can see in this chart:




In 2014, Microsoft’s business is dominated by enterprise software and services, as shown by the two orange slices. Commercial Licensing, which makes up nearly half of Microsoft’s revenue, covers Windows Server products, Volume Licensing editions of Windows, and Office for business. Commercial Other is dominated by the company’s rapidly growing enterprise services, notably Windows Azure and the commercial editions of Office 365:



(Infographics and content courtesy of ZDNet)