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Amazon in 2017 spent almost twice as much on R&D as Microsoft and Apple – combined

In the hyper-competitive world of technology, companies are always angling to come up with game-changing innovations as they constantly pursue the next big thing. As a result, many of the world’s biggest tech companies routinely pour billions upon billions of dollars into research and development initiatives each and every single year. And though most R&D initiatives don’t necessarily result in a shipping product or new service, seasoned tech companies understand that a strong R&D arm is necessary to stay afloat in an industry that moves at breakneck speed.

All that said, Recode recently did some digging and compiled a list detailing which companies spent the most on R&D efforts in 2017. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of companies on the list are tech companies and feature familiar names like Google and Apple. What is somewhat surprising, though, is which companies appear at the very top of the list.

Here’s how it all breaks down.

Amazon occupies the top having spent a whopping $22.6 billion on R&D last year.

“Amazon has poured resources into AWS, Alexa and technologies like computer vision to support ambitious projects such as the Amazon Go cashierless store of the future,” the report reads.

Following not too closely behind are Alphabet and Intel who spent $16.6 billion and $13.1 billion on R&D, respectively.  Rounding out the top 5 are Microsoft with $12.3 billion in spending and Apple who spent $11.6 billion on R&D last year.

Some other notable tech companies who cracked the top 15 include Qualcomm, Facebook, and Cisco. As for non-tech companies that are willing to spend a pretty penny on R&D, some notable entrants include Merck with $9.6 billion in R&D spending and General Motors with $7.3 billion in R&D spending.

Incidentally, Apple has historically not spent that much on R&D efforts but has picked up the pace considerably over the past few years. In 2013, for example, Apple spent $4.5 billion on R&D, a figure that has since more than doubled.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.