If you want to understand how the big technology companies are doing, just follow the money.
Three companies dominate the technology landscape of 2014: Apple, Google and Microsoft. Although they compete directly and indirectly in different departments, each company has its own distinct financial personality.
The best way to understand the differences between these three companies is to look at the detailed reports they are required to submit each quarter.
Let's look at the sources of revenue for each of them, as reported in their quarterly reports for the second half of 2013.
Apple is a hardware company first and foremost, with the vast majority of its revenue coming from products that did not exist seven years ago: iPhone and iPad. What is even more impressive is how the business has managed to have revenue from music sales through iTunes and apps as the iOS market has grown.
Two years ago, Google's revenue came almost entirely from advertising. The picture has changed slightly with Google trying to move hardware through the acquisition of Motorola Mobility, as you can see in the chart. Until the sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo that turned things around. The "Other" category, which includes digital content and non-Motorola hardware products, is still a small fraction of the company's revenue.
Beginning last summer, Microsoft has changed the way it declares its revenue, making it almost impossible to make a direct comparison of how it has been a business in the past two years. 2014, Microsoft, is dominated by software and business services, as shown by the two slices in the circle. Commercial Licensing, which accounts for about half of Microsoft's revenue, covers Windows Server products, Volume Licensing versions of Windows and Office for Business. Business Others include the rapidly growing services of the company's business, such as Windows Azure and the commercial versions of Office 365.
The first publication was ZDNet