Which company will be the biggest in America, 100 years from now? Judging by the chart below, it’s fair to say it may not be Apple AAPL, +0.15%
This chart from cost-calculating website HowMuch.Net uses Forbes data to identify which American companies were the top corporate giants over the past century. The size of the circle in the visualization corresponds to the company’s valuation, adjusted for inflation to 2017 dollars. Companies are color-coded by industry.
As Raul Amoros for HowMuch.Net points out, the top 10 companies in each year are all different. In 1917, U.S. Steel X, +0.07% reigned supreme, while in 1967, IBM IBM, +1.37% was king.
The year of 2017 has been dominated, no surprise, by iPhone maker Apple, which recently became the first public company to cross the $900 billion market capitalization milestone… and looks to be on the path toward $1 trillion (or even $2 trillion???).
One major takeaway from the chart is that today’s tech giants are huge and valuable on a scale that we’ve never seen before. In 1967, IBM was worth $258.6 billion, adjusted for inflation. That’s a long way off from Apple’s $900 billion perch today.
“The massive steel monopolies from a century ago pale in comparison to the size of tech companies today,” writes Amoros.
“This suggests that the internet has concentrated financial power in the boardrooms of only a handful of companies like never before. This is one of the many reasons why tech companies have to worry about regulators busting up their monopolies,” he says.
But if the one constant on lists such as these is change, as Amoros says, “You can be sure that the top ten companies in 2067 will look substantially different than today, and just imagine what the list will look like in 2117.”