The tech industry gets money by the truckloads. Over half of the world’s most valuable companies are in the tech industry, if you include the telecom giants. Google, Apple, IBM and Microsoft are the four most valuable companies in the world as of last year, in that order. I don’t suppose that’s a coincidence.
Tech’s lucrative, but not everyone is exactly killing it. Amazon may make tons of money, but with the amount they spend, profit is another matter, one that has been increasingly annoying to shareholders. Meanwhile, investors are still getting spooked by Twitter’s low user growth numbers, even if the financial numbers are finally starting to look decent.
That said, there were some big winners in 2014 in the tech world, with Q4 and full-year financial statements that wowed during this past reporting season. Let’s see who rocked it in 2014, and not mention those that maybe need a better 2015.
Let’s just get the obvious one out of the way. In Q4 2014, Apple broke the corporate profit record for one quarter, selling 74.5 million iPhones on its way to $18 billion in profit. $18 billion, profit, one quarter. Enough said.
Lenovo claimed 20 percent of the PC market share last quarter. They also claimed $14.1 billion in revenue, a 31 percent year-on-year increase. Profit was actually down for the quarter, but only because of costs related to their purchases of Motorola and IBM’s x86 server business, both of which are already starting to pay off.
The quieter social network quietly keeps humming along, boasting a 45 percent year-on-year increase in full-year revenue from $1.53 billion to $2.22 billion. The company even became slightly more efficient, with profit margins inching up from 25 percent to 27 percent.
Microchip manufacturer ARM beat expectations thanks to £411.3 million in profit for 2014, a 13 percent year-on-year increase. That’s the magic of being in Apple’s supply chain.
We once wondered, with justifiable concern, about Facebook’s ability to make consistent profit. That seems like a long time ago now, with the site pulling in $701 million in profit in Q4, boosted by stronger mobile ad revenue. That’s a 33 percent year-on-year increase, and helped Facebook to beat Wall Street expectations for the 10th straight quarter, according to TechCrunch.