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Which of the 5 Biggest Tech Companies Is the Best Buy Now?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® and Jason Hall - Apr 17, 2021 at 6:52AM

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All five of these are great businesses. Which is the best opportunity right now?

When it comes to big-cap tech stocks, there are five companies that tower over the rest: Apple (AAPL 0.96%)Amazon (AMZN 0.73%)Facebook (META 0.94%)Microsoft (MSFT 1.28%), and Alphabet (GOOGL 1.16%) (GOOG 1.17%). In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on April 8, Fool.com contributors Matt Frankel, CFP, and Jason Hall, along with chief growth officer Anand Chokkavelu, discuss why each is such an impressive business now. 

Anand Chokkavelu: I'll take the first one with Facebook. We talk a lot about the power of investing in platforms, and quite simply, Facebook may have the largest platform in the world. With Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, as the No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 social media networks in the world. Only Alphabet's YouTube at No. 2 breaks its ranks. With those platforms, Facebook can and does layer on things like sub-communities, person-to-person transactions, small business support, e-commerce, and with Oculus virtual reality. It's a buffet of monetization options as we go along. Matt, I think you've got Apple.

Matt Frankel: Yeah. These are five companies that really don't need introductions. When it comes to consumer electronics, it's really Apple, and then there's everyone else. There are over a billion people around the world that use the iPhone. Apple practically invented the tablet-computing market. Did you know that there are less than 200,000 tablets sold worldwide in total before the iPad, and seven million in the iPad's first year? They pretty much invented that market. The Apple Watch and the Mac laptops and desktops are pretty much considered to be the best in their respective product categories. The service business, it's just strengthening their ecosystem so much over the past few years and still has a ton of room to grow. With almost $200 billion in cash and investments, Apple has a ton of money to either innovate or acquire as it sees fit. Their numbers are just staggering, over $100 billion of revenue in the last quarter. So Apple and everybody else is really how I would categorize most consumer electronics companies.

Chokkavelu: Right on. Jason, you've got Amazon.

Jason Hall: Amazon, I think it's hard to not describe it as just a really interesting company, because we think of them as this massive e-commerce brand, which they are. They're one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. The data looks like they recently became America's largest clothing retailer, which for a lot of us came out of nowhere. They're one of America's largest supermarket chains when they bought Whole Foods, and they've continued to expand their offerings there. They're one of America's largest Cloud services providers. But I think one of the interesting things about Amazon's secrets to success and to growth is the company's found that by being its own first best customer, it can unlock lots of other things. You think about Fulfilled by Amazon. This is a service that works well for its third-parties and also works well for Amazon, because it's its first best customer and its fulfillment centers. Then you think about Amazon Web Services, it's the same thing. Amazon was its best customer for cloud services, and now we have AWS. I think when you look at Amazon's future and you think about its potential, things like telehealth. If telehealth is going to work out for Amazon as a big commercial bet, it's going to be because Amazon becomes its own first best customer for its internal needs, and then is able to leverage that for meaningful profit. I think to me that's the big thing that really sums up Amazon.

Chokkavelu: Matt with Microsoft.

Frankel: Without Microsoft, you probably wouldn't be seeing me right now. I'm doing this on a Windows PC, and I'm reading my notes off of a Word document. So this wouldn't be going on right now if it weren't for Microsoft. They're famous, like I said, for their Windows operating system and its Office productivity tools, both of which are dominant in their markets and are really almost insulated from competition risk at this point. Microsoft, they also have the LinkedIn social network, they have the Azure Cloud platform, which is gaining market share on Amazon. Anyone who gains market share on Amazon is pretty impressive in my book. Also a large presence in the gaming industry with their Xbox consoles, a lot of other computing hardware they offer such as their tablets. Very profitable company. Currently has over $130 billion of cash. Like Apple, really deep-pocketed company to grow through acquisitions or innovation as they see fit, and expecting over $160 billion of revenue. What can you really say about Microsoft? Out of all the viewers, I'm willing to bet that over half of them are watching this using Microsoft products.

Chokkavelu: Right on. The last one before we get to the really fun stuff, Jason with Alphabet.

Hall: Most people know what is Google. Do you guys believe it's been over five years ago now since the company changed its name to Alphabet? But that's still the core business, it remains really important, generated over $100 billion in revenue last year. But you also have YouTube, which interestingly enough, a lot of people might not remember back, YouTube was an acquisition that originally Google made, but you combine it, and that's $124 billion in revenue between Google and YouTube, and its ad revenues that continue to drive this business. You also have Google Cloud. It's been surprising how late to the party Google has been, Alphabet has been, in terms of Cloud services, because this is a company that was built in the Cloud. This was maybe the first Cloud company in terms of the kind of scale that we think about, but they've really seemed to have turned on the engines there to be a real player in the Cloud. Google Cloud and YouTube are really fast-growing. They have a lot of ground to make up to make them as relevant as Google search is. But the end of the day, you think about Google, you're thinking about "other bets," you're thinking about its ability to find something that's going to be the something next. Do we think it's going to happen? We hope so. I know management hopes so, because that's where the company is trying to find its new big winners. Honestly, it's been a long time since they came out with the next big winner.

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$142.92 (0.96%) $1.36
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$266.21 (1.28%) $3.36
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$2,291.44 (1.16%) $26.18
Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$114.33 (0.73%) $0.83
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
META
$169.77 (0.94%) $1.58
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOG
$2,304.27 (1.17%) $26.53

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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