There’s a new list of the world’s 10 largest companies—and tech isn’t on it

Still on top.
Still on top.
Image: AP/Gunnar Rathbun
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If you read the breathless business headlines about Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook, it would be easy to conclude the technology giants are the world’s biggest companies.

Not even close.

There are no tech names among the top 10 global companies by revenue, according to Fortune, which released its Global 500 list today (July 19). Apple, the biggest tech company, came in at 11, followed by Samsung at 12. For all of Amazon’s size and influence, it’s only the 18th-largest company, trailing such unglamorous companies as McKesson, a pharmaceutical wholesaler. And despite its pitched competition with Walmart for retail dominance, Amazon’s revenue is less than half that of the Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter.

While few dispute the future is in technology, the present is still very much in energy. Five of the top 10 are oil and gas companies, and another—State Grid—is China’s biggest utility. Two of the top 10 are car companies that help generate the demand for fossil fuels. Tesla, among the companies most written about and obsessed over, didn’t crack the top 500.

Of course, revenue is only one metric to measure the size of a company. It’s useful because its durable over time and reflects the goal of all companies (money!). Market capitalization—the value of a company’s outstanding shares—may be a better measure of a company’s current influence in the world, however, since it measures investor expectations for company’s future potential. By that score, tech companies are clearly dominant, and only Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s holding company, is on both top 10 lists:

But market cap, like investors, can be fickle, and the value of companies, and thus the order of rankings, can fluctuate wildly. The list above, compiled by PwC in March (pdf), is already out of date. Apple is now worth almost $940 billion, and Amazon briefly surpassed $900 billion yesterday (July 18), adding an astounding $200 billion in market value since March. If its sales can catch up to investor sentiment, it may not be long before Amazon breaks into Fortune’s top 10 by revenue.