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.


  1. Don’t hate the players, even if one of them fired you. Hate the game.


  2. “From the strictest capitalist standpoint, all its efforts and success have yielded little for shareholders”
    You might want to review the stock price chart.


    1. Mark, just to correct your factual inaccuracy, I left Microsoft in 1999 to start which was acquired by in 2000. Don’t hate the truth.


      1. Mark – sorry – this reply got posted to the wrong comment. Hate Disqus I guess.


  3. There’s a lot of different interpretations of libertarianism not reflected in your gif but thanks.


  4. Whatever. But thanks ?!?!


    1. I hate to side with the lame gif guy, but there is nothing Libertarian about a state beholden to wealthy corporations. “Oligarchy” is the word you want.


      1. Glad to see you in the conversation Todd.


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