After Apple achieved the milestone of being the first company in history to surpass $1 trillion in market capitalization, the question on every economist’s mind is: What will be the next company to follow Apple and cross the $1 trillion mark? Names are already being speculated and lists have appeared after the market closed on August 6, which was as follows:
- Apple: $1.01 billion.
- Amazon: $901.2 billion.
- Alphabet: $856.4 billion.
- Microsoft: $830.8 billion.
- Facebook: $536.1 billion.
Of course, remember the first lesson of stock market investing: past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Still, each is forecast to boost earnings by at least 15% annually over the next five years. That said, based on their current status and growth trends over the past few years, one would expect that, if those trends continue, the two favorites to take the billion-dollar spot would be Amazon and Microsoft, both of which are neck and neck.
The fact is that cloud computing, which allows access to data and software over the Internet, is one of the fastest growing areas of technology. Web-based software sales are expected to increase nearly 70% to $53.5 billion by 2018, according to research firm Gartner. In addition, Salesforce has been a pioneer in licensing cloud-based software to enterprises.
Admittedly, the cloud is filling up with big companies like Amazon. But Salesforce, now worth $55 billion, is the leader in customer relationship management software, which companies use to monitor their sales, marketing, and customer service. Salesforce controls about 20% of this growing IT market, which is also benefiting from the rise of the so-called Internet of Things, where even mundane objects and machines are connected and controlled online. “It has become the de facto standard in the industry and is ahead of competitors,” including Microsoft, says Josh Spencer, director of the T. Rowe Price Global Technology Fund. Not surprisingly, sales were up 27% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.