The Global 500 shrank a little over the past year. After reaching a record high of $33.3 trillion in the 2020 edition, total revenue for the world’s biggest companies fell 4.8% to $31.7 trillion this year. It was the first decline in half a decade. The culprit, of course, was the response to COVID-19, which slammed huge swaths of the global economy as countries went into lockdown. Regardless, the heft of the Global 500 remains formidable: The combined sales of the companies on the list are equal to more than one-third of global GDP. Apple is now the most profitable company in the world.
The pandemic created challenges and opportunities for Apple. CEO Tim Cook had to close stores and send home engineers. But with Apple customers worldwide working and learning from home, iPad and Macintosh computer sales skyrocketed to their highest levels ever. And fiscal-year revenue hit an all-time record too, of $275 billion. That helped Apple’s stock price soar; it gained 80.7% in 2020. As that year wound down, regulators fixed their sights on Apple for potentially abusing its power over the iOS app store. A House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee report in October concluded that Apple “exerts monopoly power” in its app store to harm competition and increase prices for consumers. Meanwhile, testimony in an antitrust lawsuit filed by Fortnite developer Epic Games will likely increase pressure on legislators to limit Apple’s power.
MacDailyNews Take: Fortune’s Top 3 Most Profitable Companies in the World:
- Apple: $57.411 billion profit on $274.515 billion in revenue
- Saudi Aramco: $49.286 billion profit on $229.766 billion in revenue
- SoftBank Group: $47.052 billion profit on $56.213 billion in revenue