Microsoft

Market Cap: $507.5 Billion
Industry: Software and Programming
Founded: 1975
Chief Executive Officer: Satya Nadella
Employees: 114,000
Sales: $85.27 Billion
Headquarters: Redmond, Washington

 

Summary: Microsoft corporation engages in the provision of developing and marketing software and hardware services. Its products and services include computing device operating systems, services, phones, and intelligent devices. The company also produces services that aid in productivity, business solutions, desktop and server management, software development, video games, and online advertising. It holds the third ranking for the world’s most valuable brand, and it is the sixth most profitable of America’s top public companies.

 

Why you should care: In the past decade, Microsoft seems to have lagged behind other software and hardware producers (namely: Apple) in innovation and production. However, they are pioneering big data solutions—a new way to house data when the volume exceeds the capacity or cost limitations for relational database systems. A move to big data, though expected, will dramatically change how we interact with and store data in both personal and corporate worlds.

 

Wal-Mart Stores

Market Cap: $221.1 Billion
Industry: Discount Stores
Founded: 1962
Chief Executive Officer: C. Douglas McMillon
Employees: 2,300,000
Sales: $485.25 Billion
Headquarters: Bentonville, Arkansas

 

Summary: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. engages in retail and wholesale business and operates through Walmart U.S., Walmart International, and Sam’s Club. They provide services similar to supercenters, supermarkets, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, home improvement stores, specialty electronics centers, apparel stores, drug stores, and convenience stores. They also offer specialty services, auto buying, optical services, hearing aid centers, tire and battery centers, and business operations support services.

 

Why you should care: Wal-Mart has pioneered the modern discount store, but—most recently—has fallen behind competitors like Amazon. In an effort to keep pace, Wal-Mart is beginning to research and produce specialty foods. Among their experiments is the “fruit punch pickle.” We will not be surprised to see Wal-Mart grow significantly over the next few years as it continues to innovate.