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Visualizing How Big Tech Companies Make Their Billions

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A chart showing the big tech companies by revenue, profit, and primary market.

Visualizing How Big Tech Companies Make Their Billions

First there was oil, then tobacco, then pharma. The “Big” epithet has always denoted the unique scale and power of certain industries, and today’s Big Tech companies are the perfect example.

These six tech giants—Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Nvidia—are each one of the eight most valuable companies in the world by market capitalization.

Thanks to the ubiquity of their business, they routinely pull in an annual revenue that exceeds many national GDPs. We visualize how and where Big Tech’s revenues came from, per their latest full-year SEC filings.

Big Tech Spotlight: Alphabet, Amazon, and Meta

First we look at Alphabet, Amazon, and Meta, whose financial years ended in December 2022.

Alphabet made slightly north of $280 billion in 2022, nearly 60% of that coming from monetizing Google Search and other related activities.

Their $60 billion profit is the third-highest amongst its Big Tech peers. Their net profit margin (net income divided by total revenue) stood at 21.2% for the year, or 21 cents in profit for every dollar of revenue earned.

Here’s a quick look at the numbers.

CompanyRevenueProfitNet Profit MarginRevenue Change
(YoY)
Alphabet$282.8B$60.0B21.2%10%
Amazon$514.0B$-2.7B-0.5%9%
Meta$116.6B$23.2B19.9%-1%

At $514 billion, e-commerce giant Amazon logged its highest revenue ever, beating its Big Tech peers by landslide.

However, severance payouts and a $720 million impairment charge (due to shutting some of their physical grocery stores), hurt the company’s bottom-line. Amazon posed a nearly $3 billion net loss for the year, and, consequently, a negative net profit margin (-0.53%).

Meta pulled in close to $117 billion in 2022 and turned a $23 billion profit, for a nearly 20% net margin. Meta’s slight year-on-year revenue decline (-1%) was attributed to foreign exchange movement.

Big Tech Spotlight: Apple, Microsoft, and Nvidia

Apple is an investor darling for a reason. Consider: $383 billion revenue (for financial year ending Sep. 2023) and $97 billion in profit—second-most in the world after oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Finally, Apple’s 25% net profit margin is the second-highest amongst the Big Tech companies.

Nevertheless, even Apple has less-than-stellar years on occasion. Sales for all Apple products declined year-on year, pulling revenue down 5%. The iPhone continues to be the company’s chief moneymaker, contributing 52% of total revenue.

CompanyRevenueProfitNet Profit MarginRevenue Change
(YoY)
Apple$383.3B$97.0B25.3%-5%
Microsoft$211.9B$72.4B34.1%7%
Nvidia$27.0B$4.37B15.9%Flat

Meanwhile, Microsoft earned nearly $212 billion for its financial year ending July 2023, led by gains in their cloud and server segment, which CEO Satya Nadella prioritized back in 2014.

The company’s $72 billion net income meant the company raked in 34 cents for every dollar it made, the highest profit margin in Big Tech.

Finally, chip-designer Nvidia—the newest entrant into the trillion dollar club—made about $27 billion for the financial year ending January 2023, with a $4 billion profit. Net profit margin stood at 15.9%.

However, the company’s profile amongst investors is rising rapidly, due to its critical position in the growing AI chip business. The company has already registered a more-than-four-fold profit increase in 2023 so far—even without accounting for the last four months of the year.

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Can Data Centers Be Sources of Sustainable Heat?

Data centers produce a staggering amount of heat, but what if instead of treating it as waste, we could harness it instead?

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Diagram showing how waste heat from data centers could be recaptured and recycled to provide sustainable heat in residential and commercial settings.

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The following content is sponsored by HIVE Digital

Can Data Centers Be Sources of Sustainable Heat?

Data centers support the modern technologies on which we rely, but also generate incredible amounts of heat as waste. 

And since computers tend to be very sensitive to heat, operators go to great lengths (and expense) to get rid of it, even relocating to countries with lower year-round average temperatures. But what if instead of letting all that heat disappear into thin air, we could harness it instead?

In this visualization, we’ve teamed up with HIVE Digital to see how data centers are evolving to recapture and recycle that energy.

How Much Heat Does a Data Center Produce?

To get an idea how much heat we’re talking about, let’s imagine a mid-sized cryptocurrency operation with 1,000 of the most energy-efficient mining rigs on the market today, the Antminer S21 Hydro. One of these rigs needs 5,360 watts of power, which over a year adds up to 47 MWh.

Multiply that by 1,000 and you end up with over 160 billion BTU, which is enough energy to heat over 4,600 U.S. homes for a year, or if it happens to be Oscar season, enough heat to pop 463,803 metric tons of popcorn. Less if you want melted butter on it. 

How Waste Heat Recycling Works?

At a high level, waste heat is recaptured and transferred via heat exchangers to district heating networks, for example, where it can be used to provide sustainable heat. Cool air is then returned to the data center and the cycle begins again.

Liquid cooling is by far the most efficient means of recapturing and transporting heat, since water can hold roughly four times as much heat as air.

Data centers around the world are already recycling their waste heat to farm trout in Norway, heat research facilities in the U.S., and to heat swimming pools in France.

A Greener Future for Data Centers?

Waste heat recycling has so far been voluntary, led by operators looking to put their operations on a more sustainable footing, but new regulations could change that. 

Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer in the Netherlands require all new data centers to explore recycling their waste heat. In Norway, they require it for all new data centers above 2 MW, while Denmark has taken a carrot approach, and developed tax cuts and financial incentives. And in late 2023, the EU Energy Efficiency Directive came into force, which will require data centers to recycle waste heat, or show that recovery is technically or economically infeasible. 

With Europe leading the way, could North America be very far behind?

HIVE Digital Provides Sustainable Heat

HIVE Digital is already recycling waste heat from its data center operations in Canada and Sweden. 

Their 30 MW data center in Lachute, Québec, is heating a 200,000 sq. ft. factory, while their 32 MW data center in Boden, Sweden, is heating a 90,000 sq. ft. greenhouse, helping to provide sustainably grown local produce, just one degree short of the Arctic Circle.

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Learn how HIVE Digital is helping to meet the demands of emerging technologies like AI, sustainably.

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