Big tech is on a roll. In every minute of the first three months of 2021, Apple, Google owner Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft sold products and services worth about $2.5m (£1.8m) combined. Profits before tax for the period came in at $88bn – more than $1bn of profit for every working day.

After a year of shifting to online work and leisure across the global economy, financial results published this week by most of US tech’s biggest names were bound to be strong. But even more bullish analysts on Wall Street were surprised by how fast they raked in money in the quarter, auguring even greater profits in the years ahead.

Apple astonished investors with strong growth across its business, from iPhone buyers snapping up new models capable of using faster 5G mobile networks to the usually quieter business selling wearables such as headphones and watches.

Online advertising is booming. Facebook said demand is so high that the average price it charges for ads rose by 30% year on year – albeit compared with the start of pandemic. Alphabet revenues rose by a third year on year thanks to Google’s advertising business.

Alphabet was also helped by fast growth in cloud services, offering


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