The year just passed was both interesting and surprising. The iPhone 6 took the world by storm and privacy issues continued to hound Facebook and Google. Samsung had its first diminishing profit after three years and Bill Gates is still the richest man in the world.
Read on to learn how these five popular tech companies fared in 2014. Three of them are from Silicon Valley (Facebook, Google, Apple), four are US companies (including Microsoft) and the sole non-US based one is Samsung Electronics. All four trade in Nasdaq, America‘s largest stock exchange firm.
These five may not be the biggest technology companies in terms of revenues and operating profits. But they share one thing in common: they are all household names.
Apple dominated the mobile and desktop business for the last quarter of 2014. With sales of 74.5 million iPhones, 21.4 million iPads and 5.5 million desktops and laptops and $4.7 billion worth of iTunes software and services, Steve Jobs‘baby had a last quarter profit of $18 billion. Its head honcho, Tim Cook, is also CNN‘s CEO of the year.
Earnings per share for the fourth quarter stood at $3.06; EPS for January to March was $1.66. Shares in February 2014 closed at around $71 and by December‘s end, it had risen to $110. It has constantly gained after the reports were out, now trading at $118 per share.
The most-used social networking site may have lost its cool factor but founder Mark Zuckerberg isn‘t worrying about it. With $701 million in earnings for the last quarter of 2014 and 1.39 billion monthly active users by year‘s end, actual figures have surpassed expectations. Facebook also claims that it is responsible for 16 percent of smartphone sales, especially in the emerging markets.
While the company made a lot of money, it also spent a sizable amount on purchase. In 2014, it made eight acquisitions, the most widely known among them being WhatsApp, the instant messaging app that has 600 million users worldwide.
Microsoft‘s fiscal year is July to June. In the year ended June 30, 2014, it reported revenue of $86,833 billion and net income of $22 billion. Share prices for the latest fiscal year ended higher than in previous years and shareholders received $15.7 billion, representing a 27 percent increase from 2013.
Microsoft bought Nokia‘s device and services unit in September 2013 for $ 7.2 billion and at the rate it‘s buying companies (average 10 in a year), Gates won‘t be dislodged from his “richest man“position anytime soon.
Google reported annual 2014 revenue at $66 billion and $18.1 billion income before taxes, which is a little less than Apple‘s Q4 earnings but still in the billions range. Its cost-per-click earnings continue to go down but total advertising made up 90 percent of the company‘s revenue for the fourth quarter. All in all, Google continues its year on year increase in profits and revenue.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) didn‘t do as well last year in its mobile section. The world‘s biggest smartphone maker said that 2014 saw its profits drop, the first since 2011. It reported $21.45 billion net profit, down 23 percent from 2013. As of February 2, its shares closed at $1,250 down from its highest for 2014, $1,500 in May 30.
In Q1 of 2014, 75 percent of its total operating profits came from its smartphones but this dropped to 37 percent in the last quarter. This sharp decline in sales is due to the growing popularity of China’s Xiaomi and Huawei, in the low-end division and Apple in the high-end category. Its Galaxy S5 smartphone sold 40 percent less than expected when it was offered earlier. In the 2013 fourth quarter, Samsung sold 86 million smartphones. Sales decreased to 71 million in the same quarter of 2014.
In a bid to soothe its anxious shareholders, Samsung will be paying an annual cash dividend of 19,500 won ($17.73) to holders of common stocks and 19, 550 won ($17.78) for preferred stocks.