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Can you guess the world’s biggest companies today vs 2000?

In the new year, Apple surpassed Samsung, becoming the world’s largest smartphone maker for the first time in the last ten years. 

With this in mind, City Index reveals the world’s biggest companies today by market cap, and how the landscape of corporate giants has changed in the last 20 years. In an era rife with smartphones and AI, it’s no shock that technology dominated the stock market in 2023, with seven technology companies including Apple, Amazon and Tesla occupying the top 10. 

The top 10 biggest companies of today:

Rank

Company

Industry

SBW24
SUV_Expo_2024_Meblbourne

Market cap (billion USD)

1

Apple

Technology

$3,030.00

2

Microsoft

SmallBusinessExpo

Technology

$2,510.00

3

Saudi Aramco

Oil & Gas

$2,080.00

4

Alphabet (Google)

Technology

$1,520.00

5

Amazon

Technology/Retail

$1,340.00

6

NVIDIA

Technology

$1,050.00

7

Tesla

Automotive

$886.89

8

Berkshire Hathaway

Diversified

$753.13

9

Meta (Facebook)

Technology

$733.11

10

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing

Technology

$534.98

City Index can reveal that Apple is the most valuable company in history, having a market cap of $3.03 trillion. Apple was founded in 1976 and went public in 1980. Only in 2011 did it become the world’s most valuable company for the first time, with a value of $350 billion. It replaced ExxonMobil at the top. It was the biggest company in the world for most of the 2010s, and in 2018 became the first US company to surpass $1 trillion in value. It then surpassed $2 trillion two years later. Currently, with its $3.03 trillion value, it accounts for 11% of the GDP of the US.1

Microsoft was the second-biggest company in 2023, with a market cap of $2.51 trillion, thanks to its market-leading Microsoft Azure cloud computing services and its stake in OpenAI. However, the products that saw it dominate in 2000 – including Windows and Office – are still a big part of its revenues. Microsoft was also the world’s most valuable company in 2000, adjusted for inflation, it is worth over 3 times that today ($2.51 trillion).

The biggest companies in 2000:

Rank

Company

Industry

Market cap (billion USD)

Market cap (inflation adj.)

1

Microsoft

Technology

$586.00

$1,037.22

2

General Electric

Diversified

$477.00

$844.29

3

Cisco

Technology

$366.00

$647.82

4

Walmart

Retail

$260.00

$460.20

5

Exxon Mobil

Oil & Gas

$260.00

$460.20

6

Intel

Technology

$251.00

$444.27

7

NTT Docomo

Telecommunications

$246.00

$435.42

8

Royal Dutch Shell

Oil & Gas

$203.00

$359.31

9

Pfizer

Pharmaceuticals

$202.00

$357.54

10

Nokia

Technology

$186.00

$329.22

Much like today, Technology companies had prominence on the stock market in 2000. Companies like Microsoft, Cisco and Intel occupied half of the top 10, compared to only one (IBM) 20 years earlier. Only two Oil & Gas companies were in the top 10 in 2000, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell.

In 2000, Microsoft was top of the stock market, worth $586 billion ($1.03 trillion today) however, it was badly affected by the dot-com crash. By March 2001, its value had dropped to $258 billion, less than half of its peak. This was partly due to the ruling of the United States vs. Microsoft case, in which MSFT was found guilty of monopolisation.2

However, in 2003, it became the biggest company in the world again, and the biggest tech company in the world up until Apple’s rise in the early 2010s. 

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