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Google at 15: Living Large With a $290 Billion Market Value

A moment of reflection for Google (GOOG). According to Google’s Doodle, the search giant is celebrating its 15th birthday today.

As companies go, this is one strapping 15-year-old:

• $290 billion in market cap
• $56.6 billion in revenue reported in the last four quarters
• 44,777 employees (as of June 30, 2013)

For companies of all ages, Google is very large—but how does it compare with other big tech names when they turned 15?

Let’s look at the data:
Data: Bloomberg

On any of these basic scales, Google rules. Its annual sales dwarf the competition. These numbers are not adjusted for inflation, but if you did so, Google would still be tops:
Data: Bloomberg

Next up is market cap, and again, it’s not even close. Dell’s (DELL) size as an adolescent is exaggerated because it turned 15 in 1999—right in the middle of the tech bubble:
Data: Bloomberg

And finally, counting employees, Google again is No. 1, with a larger staff than all the other 15-year-olds:
Data: Bloomberg

So Google is the biggest kid in school—maybe the biggest this school has ever seen. How big can the company ultimately grow? Have we seen an early growth spurt, never to be repeated again (like Dell)—or the indications of a corporate giant that hasn’t fully developed yet?

One more thing: If you do a Google search for the phrase “Google founded,” you’ll find the date Sept. 4, 1998—not Sept. 27. Google’s own company history page tells us it incorporated on Sept. 4. The company that wants you to trust them with all your personal information can’t even tell us a consistent story about its own birthday. Google should be grateful nobody is asking for its birth certificate.

With Mark Glassman
Chemi is head of research for Businessweek and Bloomberg TV.

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