in Digital Business

Comparing Google’s and Microsoft’s revenues

I was struck by this tweet over the weekend by Patrick Collison:

It’s worth digging out the actual numbers to see what that comparison really is.

Google was founded in 1998. The earliest revenue figure I can find is from 2001: just $86.4m. It’s safe to assume in 1998, Google’s revenue was zero or close to it. For FY2013, Google annouced revenues of $59.83bn. A staggering growth from 12 years prior.

Microsoft’s revenue for FY1997/98 was $14.48bn. For FY2013/14, it was $86.83bn – an increase of $72.35bn. That’s $12.52bn more than Google’s latest figures.

And for fun, let’s throw in Apple. 1998 was still three years before the release of the iPod. Apple recorded revenues of ‘just’ $5.94bn. That’s now grown to $170.91bn for FY2013/14 – more than Microsoft and Google combined.

While these figures tell us about past growth, it doesn’t tell you much about the future. Who would you rather be: Google, Microsoft or Apple?

Notes on revenue figures

  • Google’s financial year runs the same as the calendar year.
  • Microsoft’s financial year runs from July to June the following year.
  • Apple’s financial year runs from October to September the following year.
While this means the figures above aren’t quite a true like-for-like comparison, I don’t think it really matters.

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