As I was researching Microsoft’s Washington State tax breaks, I realized that the company’s cumulative revenues surpassed $1 trillion this past quarter. You might expect a company to announce a milestone like this and bask in this incredible accomplishment — but not Microsoft. It chose to stay silent as it faces increased public scrutiny for holding $108.3 billion in earnings offshore (an incredible 41% of its all time profit) and its history of tax dodging at home in Washington State.

As Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat expressed shock that Boeing’s tax breaks saved it $304 million last year, I noted that the legislature’s actions here are saving Microsoft approximately $776 million in 2016 (I’ve been reporting on Microsoft’s Nevada-based tax dodge since 2004.)

According to my data, Apple surpassed $1 trillion in revenue 2015 but selling pricier hardware has given it a historical advantage. Still, Apple’s cumulatively earned only $261.6 billion in profit to Microsoft’s $265.2 billion. Google’s earned $96.3 billion cumulatively.

microsoft cumulative earnings

Cumulative Earnings of MSFT, AAPL, GOOG, AMZN

Amazon, Washington State’s other star, has more than a half trillion in revenue, $545 billion but noticeably only $3.31 billion in profit. From the strictest capitalist standpoint, all its efforts and success have yielded little for shareholders. It’s been kind of a net failure.

Washington State: Libertarian Promised Land

In summary, Washington State’s become a kind of libertarian promised land. Combined, Microsoft and Amazon, its babies, have earned more than $1.5 trillion in revenues and helped create more than 161,220 millionaires but the wealthy here pay the lowest share of taxes in the entire country. As a result, we:

Nicely done Bill and Jeff.

Update: Thank you for the widespread coverage of this story: Slashdot, CNet, Yahoo! Finance, Business Insider, Time, et al. Aside from the alternative Stranger, other Seattle news organizations remain silent: no mention from The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, Crosscut, KUOW, etc.

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Try scheduling a meeting with his new startup Meeting Planner (, simpler, faster scheduling for work or play and read his series about building it). Follow @reifman on Twitter.