When you hear talk of "tech giants" in the news, you've probably got a shortlist of the companies that spring to mind. Perhaps it's the "FAANGs" -- Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google. Perhaps you mentally add the likes of China's Tencent or Japan's Softabank to the list, or pencil in space for the likes of Tesla.
There's one giant, however, that's bigger than them all, and yet rarely gets mentioned in the same breath. There's only one trillion-dollar company in the world right now, and it's neither Amazon nor Apple (though they're both reasonably close to the line). As I write this, the only company valued at over a trillion dollars ($1.076 trillion, to be exact) is none other than Microsoft.
That valuation got a little bit of a boost this week from yet another incredibly solid earnings report. Almost everything the company is doing right now is a success; the Azure cloud platform is the most important driver of growth, but it's also seeing growth across plenty of other business segments, driven primarily by a smooth and well-managed transition of its core business software products into cloud services. Even LinkedIn, which the company acquired back in 2016, is doing remarkably well. It's not just about a single solid quarter, though. Microsoft's growth trajectory has been clear for some time, with CEO Satya Nadella's vision for the company -- and his capacity to actually execute it successfully -- turning out to be exactly what it needed.
The Xbox division isn't a particularly bright spot in this story right now, though much of that is attributable to the fact that Xbox is pretty much officially in its generational transition period right now. Xbox hardware sales are down almost 50% year-on-year, but Microsoft's commitment to gaming feels more solid now than it has at any point in the past few years.