Coming just a bit more than one month after Apple became the first US publicly traded company to be valued at over $1 trillion, Amazon takes second place in the race to corporate hugeness.
Amazon entered the rarefied atmosphere of trillion-dollar companies when its stock rose 1.9 percent last Tuesday to a value of $2,050.50 per share, just 23 cents beyond what it needed to reach that magic trillion dollar point. The price of Amazon’s stock has climbed by 70 percent so far this year, continuing to explode along with other US stocks in the tech sector. The milestone was fleeting however, when the stock actually closed up only 1.3 percent, not enough to keep it beyond $1 trillion.
Amazon has been doing quite well lately, pulling past other tech major players such as Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and Microsoft. Alphabet’s valuation stands at about $840.3 billion, and Microsoft’s at $854.5 billion.
In 1994 Jeff Bezos founded Amazon as an on-line bookseller. The company grew quickly to become one of the US’ most influential companies. Based in Seattle, Amazon is a leader in e-commerce, but also is expanding to other markets such as cloud computing, home security and movie production. Only Walmart hires more people, and this year’s profit so far comes to $4.1 billion. Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post.
Bezos is the world’s richest person. As a the major beneficiary of the skyrocketing stock price, as of Tuesday, Bezos’ worth is estimated to be $166 billion.
The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy announced that Google’s drone delivery service, Project Wing, will begin testing in the United States. The step is part of a White House initiative to encourage research into safety measures and other issues connected to unmanned flight.
Tuesday’s email announcement stated that the National Science Foundation has budgeted $35 million over five years on research into unmanned flight, while the Department of the Interior is planning on increasing its use of drones.
The White House is following up on the Federal Aviation Administration’s June finalization of introductory regulations controlling drone flight, especially creating guidelines for acquiring unmanned pilot licenses and rules for commercial unmanned flights.
“Honestly, the way I think about these issues, I don’t think about the problems,” said Dave Vos, the head of Project Wing. “I think about the solutions that we can bring to bear.”
Vos was speaking at a White House event promoting drone technology.
The general description of shares on the stock market at the moment can be described as “expensive” according to many observers.
A report in Yahoo Finance stated that “One reason that folks are paying up for richly priced stocks is that money – for many – is not much of an object right now.’’
The report added that American companies have added about $700 billion in debt so far in 2015, and repurchases of stock are on their way to going beyond a value of $600 billion.
Stocks for US companies are high-priced. The median stock carries a higher valuation than almost all of the time in the last 40 years, Yahoo stated. The largest 100 companies in the world today are worth an enormous $16.24 trillion. That amount is close to double what those companies were valued at immediately following the recent financial crisis.
According to PwC, Apple Inc. is the most valuable business in the world, with a market capitalization of $725 billion, which conducted a study in March. Since 2009 the maker of the iPhone and many other popular consumer electronic products has increased its market value by 671%. Only 6 years ago Apple was ranked the world’s 33rd largest company and worth about $94 billion.
The second largest company in the world is Google, with a valuation of $375 billion, more than double its worth in 2009 of $110 billion. Six years ago it ranked in 22nd place.
Moving in a distinctly reverse direction to the innovation companies like Google and Zappos have embraced, where employees are given freedom in areas like creativity, time-off and more; a Japanese company has created a tool that will track just about every movement and interaction an employee has in the office or workplace.
The device, which is worn as a badge or ID card, holds chips and sensors which record a variety of behaviors, including how often a worker goes to the lavatory; to whom an employee speaks during the day, how often, where and with how much enthusiasm, and just about every move a worker is capable of making.
Hitachi, the developer of the device, calls it the “Business Microscope.” It is a good name since it will certainly make employees feel like they are being scrutinized as if they were bugs on a slide under the eye of their supervisor.
The gadget can tell how often a worker gets up out of his chair, how far he walks and where he went. It can also tell how often he speaks at meetings, reporting on how much and what he contributes to groups.
“Business Microscope uses sensor technology to measure and analyze inner company communication and activities. Multiple-sensor devices are placed inside a nameplate-type sensor that is attached to employees,” Hitachi said on its website.
“When the name tag sensors come within a specified distance of each other, they recognize each other and record the face time, body and behavior rhythm data to a server,” Hitachi added.
Hitachi said their goal for developing the badge is to make workers more efficient while also helping supervisors and bosses to organize the workspace to make it more worker-friendly, enhancing cooperation between workers.
Google, the web-search giant, will be carefully scrutinized by US and European regulators as their bid to purchase Motorola Mobility is approved, giving Google possession of 17,000 patents and an additional 7,500 patent applications.
The purchase price for Motorola was a cool $12.5 billion, paving the way for Google to continue to compete with its market rivals such as Apple Inc and also defend itself and other Android manufacturers in patent lawsuits.
Regulators have said they will carefully monitor Google to ensure that all patents that are crucial to the telecommunications industry would be licensed at fair prices. European antitrust authorities as well as the US Department of Justice said they will watch how the patents are used to make sure that they comply with antitrust laws.
The regulators are concerned that the patents, which are critical in making sure that the large number of communications devices on the market, which are sold by many different companies, will be compatible with each other and are licensed for a reasonable fee.
“The (Justice Department’s antitrust) division will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action to stop any anticompetitive use of SEP (standard essential patent) rights,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The deal with Motorola gives to Google one of the largest patent libraries in the mobile phone industry. Also included in the deal are Motorola’s manufacturing operations which will give Google the ability to create its own line of smart phones.