The Tech Companies That Have Had the Biggest Impact on Society in the 21st
CenturyAs a digital marketing agency, it’s essential for us to stay up to date withSEO news, tech products and services the public relies on most often, and moreimportantly, the public’s perception of these companies.With this in mind, we commissioned a survey of 6,375 members of the public tofind out which big tech companies they believed were having the biggest impacton society in the 21st century, good or bad, looking at factors includingcommunication, data security, sustainability, knowledge sharing, charitablegiving and overall contribution to society.For better or worse, our survey revealed that Facebook is the company that thepublic perceives to have impacted global society the most in the 21st centuryso far, followed by Google and PornHub.
The ten most socially impactful tech companies of the 21st Century are:
1. Facebook 2. Google 3. PornHub 4. Microsoft 5. Apple 6. Amazon 7. Twitter 8. Netflix 9. TikTok 10. TinderThese tech companies have become an integral part of everyday life formillions of people around the globe. However, when asked if big tech is havinga positive or negative impact on our society, the responses were split; 28% ofrespondents believe companies like Google and Facebook are improving societyfor the better, while 31% believe they are having a negative impact. Themajority of participants (41%) said they were still undecided.Needless to say, big tech is definitely a profitable niche, making big wavesin modern society.When asked which services members of the public used the most, 91% ofrespondents said they used Google more than once every day (which is good newsfor SEOs), followed by social media platforms Facebook (86%) Instagram (76%)and TikTok (70%). Netflix was the fifth most commonly used tech service,trailing just behind with 67% of participants admitting to using the streamingservice at least once every day.The internet has made modern life more convenient than ever, but with thisconvenience comes the risk of an overreliance on certain services. Almost halfof respondents (49%) said that they wish they didn’t rely on Amazon so much,while two-fifths (41%) said they would like to delete their Facebook accountbut have become too dependent on it for staying in touch with friends andfamily.Our survey also revealed a lack of trust in big tech companies with thehandling of the public’s personal data. Microsoft was found to be the mosttrusted company (18%), however the most popular response chosen by a quarterof people (24%) was that none of the big tech companies could be trusted. Evenas digital marketers, knowing your SEO web hosting is proactive with theirdata security, is vital to doing business online.Facebook was chosen by a third of people as being the most untrustworthycompany (32%), followed by Amazon (16%), TikTok (13%) and Google (12%).Microsoft was chosen by the majority of people (56%) as the company which hasdone the most good in the world, with many citing the charitable work of BillGates throughout his career, while Steve Jobs was voted the most influentialCEO in big tech (66% of votes).Our research also touched on sustainability, and the efforts made by big techcompanies to reduce their impact on the environment. When people were askedwhich big tech company the thought was making the biggest effort towardssustainability, Microsoft was the most popular option, with 23% of the votes,followed by Google (19%) and Apple (18%).Microsoft recently pledged to be carbon negative by 2030 and aims to havecompletely removed its historical carbon footprint by 2050, while Google hasmatched 100% of its electricity consumption for the last three years bypurchasing renewable energy and Apple has pledged to be carbon neutralthroughout its supply chain and manufacturing process by 2030*.Google received mainly positive votes for its impact on society (57% believeso), the most popular reasons for this being the answers and information thatcan be accessed through its search engine and navigation through Google Maps.On the negative side, the main concerns were with the sharing of user’spersonal information, followed by suspicions of spying on users and taxavoidance.PornHub was voted the company which has had the most negative impact onsociety, with over half of respondents (56%) selecting it, followed by Twitter(18%) and Facebook (15%). This is in light of the Shut Down Pornhub campaignwhich currently has over 1.5 million signatures from around the world afterserious allegations of profiting from videos of rape and child sextrafficking**.These results could also be broken down to see comparisons between the UK andUS, as well as between east coast and west coast residents in the US.West coast residents believed most strongly that big tech was having apositive impact on society (39%), while those in the East Coast were morelikely to believe that they are having a negative impact on our daily lives(45%).Facebook received the most votes for untrustworthiness across the board,however in the US the percentage of people who don’t trust TikTok (16%) isdouble that in the UK (8%), while Brits are less trusting of Amazon with theirpersonal information (19%).
The top five companies by East Coast respondents
1. Facebook 2. Google 3. Microsoft 4. Pornhub 5. Twitter
The top five companies by West Coast respondents
1. Facebook 2. Pornhub 3. Google 4. Apple 5. Microsoft
The top five companies by UK respondents
1. Google 2. Facebook 3. Amazon 4. Microsoft 5. PornhubMatt Diggity, founder of Diggity Marketing, said,> “We are now in the second decade of the twenty-first century and technology> is advancing faster than ever. Services and products that may have been seen> as gimmicky or unnecessary at the start of the millennium are now integral> parts of everyday life for billions of people across the world.>> “Measuring a company’s impact on society meant we had an opportunity to look> at perceived good and bad aspects. It’s telling that, despite negative press> around some of the top 10, these are still seen to be the companies that> have done more than others to change the way we live our lives. Our study> just goes to show that whatever side you sit on when it comes to companies> like Facebook, Google and PornHub, their impact on society cannot be> denied.”Resources :Big Tech Faces Big Test on ESG IssuesAs big tech and media companies face growing concern about the power of theirbusinesses, more questions about environmental, social and governance (ESG)issues are likely to be raised. Social and governance issues deserve greaterattention amid increasing regulatory scrutiny of industry giants.ESG issues are attracting greater investor interest across industries today.Tech companies have a pretty good reputation in terms of the environment. Mostdon’t consume huge amounts of natural resources. And their products andservices support technological advances that help give people better access toinformation, while fostering economic growth.But many tech companies face social and governance risks that shouldn’t beignored. Mounting political pressure to regulate technology and media giantsshould compel investors to ask what these companies are doing to manageexposure. Recent reports in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal suggestthat regulators will be widening the scope of their enquiries into big techcompanies beyond antitrust law. Investors should watch out for lesser-knownpotential ESG hazards by asking these three questions:Is Antitrust the Right Battle?The regulation of big technology companies, like Alphabet Inc. (Google’sparent company) and Facebook, is widely perceived to be a US antitrustproblem. Antitrust laws are statutes developed by the government to protectconsumers from predatory business practices by large, dominant companies.However, the US antitrust actions may face challenges because Alphabet andFacebook aren’t doing damage to consumers, in our view.But we think additional regulatory questions will be asked. For example,Google-owned YouTube has 2 billion monthly unique users globally, and theFacebook ecosystem (Facebook + Instagram + WhatsApp + Messenger) has amassed2.2 billion daily users. The sheer scale of users allows both companies tobenefit from a powerful network effect. At the same time, this has createdunintended social implications.Content distribution is a case in point. Facebook and Google’s dominance overcontent distribution could clash with a long-standing US tradition to protectthe plurality of opinions. Even today, the Federal Communications Commissionenforces strict ownership restrictions over traditional media outlets, such asnational and local TV stations, to ensure that no single entity has too muchinfluence over the “media voices” in a given market. There are also rules inplace to prevent the merger of national broadcast networks, such as CBS andNBC. Given the massive scale of their audiences, YouTube and Facebook farexceed the reach of mainstream networks. What’s more, in the US, traditionalnews and advertisement publishers are obligated to verify the authenticity ofinformation in their publications, or face exposure to liability.Google and Facebook don’t face such liability today. Since they say theyaren’t publishers, they aren’t responsible for editorial content. Bothcompanies consider their technologies to be platforms that connect users andpublishers in an “open internet” environment. That’s why Mark Zuckerbergrecently said at a roundtable discussion when talking about the spread ofmisinformation, “I don’t believe that our platform should take [content]down.”What Does It Cost to Be a Publisher?The thin line between “free speech” and “fake news” will continue to provokediscussion. With increasing evidence that misinformation through Google’s andFacebook’s platforms continues to stir controversy in politics, science andother areas, regulators may ultimately be inclined to require media giants tocensor content distributed on their sites. If regulators don’t take action,the platforms themselves may suffer reputational consequences as users startto question the authenticity of content.Should companies become responsible for removing “fake news” from theirplatforms, they start to assume de facto responsibility for deciding whatinformation makes it to the public. In other words, these companies would betransformed overnight from platforms to publishers that influence publicopinion. In our view, this role may lead to regulatory oversight and corporateresponsibility that they haven’t faced before.It would also be extremely expensive. As publishers, these companies would beforced to assume the same liability and responsibility for authenticity as anytraditional media publisher. With millions of hours of user-generated contentconstantly uploaded to the system, big tech companies would be forced toexpend huge amounts of capital to monitor and authenticate information, whichcould hurt their profitability. Artificial intelligence may help, but probablyisn’t fully capable of the task just yet; indeed, Facebook added 15,000contract workers as content moderators to review and remove images of violenceand other content deemed harmful. Investors should consider the potentialbusiness implications of these social risks when evaluating any company intheir portfolio.Do Founders Have Too Much Control?Over the past 25 years, technology founders have increasingly negotiated formore power. For example, Google’s founders structured the company in a waythat gave them outsized voting rights and the ability to retain control evenif they sold their stock. Mark Zuckerberg owns just over a quarter of Facebookstock but controls around 60% of shareholder votes. Among the many recentinternet and tech IPOs, dual-class shareholder structures and founder controlhas been the norm, leaving limited rights for public investors.Of course, many founder/CEOs continue to play instrumental roles in shapingtheir companies’ journey. However, as the tech founders wield more power andinfluence than ever anticipated, the accountability question is paramount.Independent boards, separating the CEO and chairman roles, and singleshare–class stock are strong corporate governance practices that have yet tobe widely adopted in this industry. Investors need to continue to presscompanies to move in this direction and hold directors accountable, in ourview. Poor governance practices can be a serious business risk for investors.These are just some of the ESG risks that big tech and media may face in thecoming years. As big tech companies continue to enjoy the benefits of hugenetworks, we believe they must also live up to the social responsibility thatcomes with their immense power to shape public discourse—or their businesseswill ultimately suffer. Integrating an analysis of such social and governancerisks in fundamental research and valuation estimates is essential forinvestors seeking positions in the sector.Lei Qiu is a Portfolio Manager on the International Technology Portfolio and aSenior Research Analyst for Thematic & Sustainable Equities atAllianceBernsteinDan Roarty is Chief Investment Officer of Thematic & Sustainable Equities atAllianceBernsteinThe views expressed herein do not constitute research, investment advice ortrade recommendations and do not necessarily represent the views of all ABportfolio-management teams and are subject to revision over time.AllianceBernstein Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial ConductAuthority in the United Kingdom.The Big Five Tech Companies: Big Tech Facts (FAAMG)
Whο Are the Big Five Tech Companies?
The big five tech companies are: 1. Facebook 2. Amazon 3. Apple 4. Microsoft 5. GoogleThe total value of the tech giants is over $5 trillion.Like with “Big Oil”,” “Big Tobacco”, and “Big Pharma”, “Big Tech” is here tostay and shape today’s society in more areas than just technology.
Founded: February 4, 2004 Revenue: $86 billion (2020) Employees: 58,604 (2021) Alexa rank: 5 (2o21The
1 brand in the organic business – but it was struggling.
Sprouts Farmers Markets, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and the rest of its majorcompetitors were gaining ground. Whole Foods had already started to decline.So one day, in full secrecy, the CEO of the soon-to-be subsidiary reached outto Jeff Bezos, and they eventually came to an agreement for 13.7 billiondollars.Since then, the impact of the deal on the supermarket chain hasn’t goneunnoticed. The supermarket chain stores look different, their shelves includemore small brands than they used to, and Amazon has renewed efforts to deliverfresh food.SourceAlso, the acquisition of Whole Foods Market gave a bigger brick-and-mortarpresence to Amazon through more than 300 physical stores across the US.Moreover, Amazon now has more insight than ever before, as it combines datafrom online and offline purchases of its customers.
Largest Technology Stocks by Market Cap
Tech Stock| Market Cap —|— 1. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)| $2.2 trillion 2. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)| $1.6 trillion 3. Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN)| $1.6 trillion 4. Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL)| $1.2 trillion 5. Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA)| $0.8 trillion 6. Facebook (Nasdaq: FB)| $0.7 trillion 7. Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA)| $0.6 trillion 8. Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. (NYSE: TSM)| $0.6 trillion 9. Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA)| $0.3 trillion 10. PayPal Holdings (Nasdaq: PYPL)| $0.3 trillion *Numbers from January 13, 2021For one last example to put their size in perspective… Amazon is now muchlarger than the next five largest retailers combined. That’s Amazon’s $1.6trillion valuation compared with a total of $1.1 trillion for Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Home Depot (NYSE: HD), Costco (Nasdaq: COST), Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) andTarget (NYSE: TGT).Also, it’s good to note that many existing companies are becoming technologycompanies. To survive and stay competitive, they have to use more technology.Walmart, for example, is a staple consumer goods company (here’s a list of 20consumer staple stocks). Although, it’s been investing heavily in onlineplatforms and other technologies to keep up. Thanks to its supply chaininnovation, Walmart now offers next-day delivery to 75% of the U.S.population.We’ll see this trend continue with all companies. And going forward, thatgives us even better investing opportunities…
Amkor Technology (AMKR)
Amkor Technology, Inc. is a US semiconductor packaging and test servicesprovider. It operates factories in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines,Portugal and Taiwan, which makes Amkor a leading player in the semiconductorindustry. * Exchange: Nasdaq * EPS growth in 1 year: 180% * Dividend yield: 0.76% * Recent stock price, as of June 2021: $22.05 * Market cap, as of June 2021: $5.38 billion * YTD performance, as of June 2021: 48.89%About Amkor Technology stock* * *
Is big tech too big to fail?
Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), and Facebook are the five biggestcompanies in the world by market capitalization. In January, these companiescomprised about 11% of the value of the U.S. stock market, using the Russell3000 as a proxy. By the end of May, they swelled to 17%.The story isn’t new; these stocks have been an outsized driver of performancein the S&P 500 since 2015. It’s just much more dramatic in 2020. Between March23rd and June 8th, Facebook’s stock increased over 56%. Amazon is up nearly37% year-to-date.Just as investors have benefitted from the concentration at the top, manycould be over-exposed if there’s a reversal of fortune.
Diversification is still the best armor
Deliberate diversification is still the best way to help insulate yourinvestment portfolio against the major losses that can coincide withconcentration risk. As the market capitalization of the S&P 500 grows on aglobal scale, this becomes more challenging.When deciding on your investment strategy, consider diversifying your assetallocation between and within asset classes. For example, holding stocks andbonds will give you exposure to two different asset classes. But if you justbuy a fund that tracks the S&P 500 and some 10-year treasuries, yourinvestment mix is still limited to large-cap U.S. stocks and intermediate termgovernment bonds.Other factors to consider when diversifying are geography, marketcapitalization (e.g. small-cap or mid-cap), international developed oremerging economies, across sectors and industries, corporate and governmentbonds, and so on.As the big guys get bigger, you’ll also want to consider the intersect betweenyour ETF and mutual fund holdings. For example, if you own a tech stock ETF, aS&P 500 index fund, and a total stock market fund, the top holdings are mostlikely going to be the same across all three. This undermines the intent ofdiversifying.Holding big tech names certainly paid off over the last few years. Whatreturns look like going forward is impossible to predict. But as a largershare of the performance of the major indices are driven by the top fivenames, you should at least understand your exposure.