The six most valuable public companies in 2006 versus 2016

Much has changed in both technology and in the business world since 2006. A decade ago, the smartphone boom hadn’t started, Apple started its MacBook series of laptops (replacing the previous iBook and Powerbook lines), and social media was just taking off.

On the business side, the most valuable public companies in 2006 were mostly energy companies or banking. However, the next 10 years would see big changes for both sectors. The late 2000s brought a major banking crisis (whose perpetrators largely escaped meaningful punishment, unfortunately), while oil companies also got heavily criticized after the Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill. Meanwhile, the tech companies continued their rise, leading to the results shown in the infographic below.

Infographic: The Age of Tech | Statista
Infographic by Statista (CC BY-ND)

As you can see, in 2006, only one tech company, Microsoft, was among the six wealthiest corporations. In 2016, the “Big Five” tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Google/Alphabet, Microsoft, and Facebook) make up five of the top six spots. The lone holdout is ExxonMobil, and it’s about even with Facebook.

As for the 2006 companies bumped off the list:

  • General Electric: 2009-2010 saw the biggest change for GE. It sold its longtime ownership of NBC (and then-recently-acquired Universal) to cable conglomerate Comcast, a deal I opposed at the time. GE’s also since sold a few other units, such as Electrolux.
  • Citigroup: Citigroup was in the thick of the late 2000s/early 2010s banking and subprime mortgage crisis. However, it’s since emerged from the chaos and is still a gigantic banking/financial firm “too big to fail.”
  • BP: BP met with fierce public scorn over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. As of 2015, it was still dealing with the legal fallout (and government fines). On top of that is that oil prices have fallen in recent years, to the point gas is now cheaper than it was a decade ago.
  • Royal Dutch Shell: I didn’t find much that’s radically changed or eventful beyond typical oil/energy conglomerate doings. But I’d assume that cheaper oil prices have also impacted Shell.

Overall, technology’s clearly made its impact on the economy known. I await seeing what the next decade brings.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *