Tech Winners and Losers of 2023

The tech industry saw some major changes and developments throughout 2023, developments that left some companies and individuals far better off than others. Let's look at the tech industry's winners a...
Tech Winners and Losers of 2023
Written by Matt Milano
  • The tech industry saw some major changes and developments throughout 2023, developments that left some companies and individuals far better off than others. Let’s look at the tech industry’s winners and losers from the past year.

    Winner: Microsoft

    It’s hard to argue that Microsoft pulled off the coup of the decade by beating Google to the punch in AI. By partnering with and investing in OpenAI, Microsoft was able to take Google by surprise and gain a tremendous advantage in mindshare, as well as put a dent in Google’s search.

    The company has continued to build on that advantage, incorporating AI across its various platforms. The company has also served as a stabilizing influence on OpenAI, providing some much-needed guidance in the midst of its recent crisis (see below).

    Loser: OpenAI Board of Directors

    OpenAI launched a public battle to oust co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, sending shockwaves throughout the tech industry. As details emerged, there were reports of growing concern over Altman’s prioritizing the monetization of OpenAI’s work, with some scientists believing a more cautious approach was in order. There were even some reports that OpenAI had made an AI breakthrough that led to the growing concern.

    Unfortunately for the board, the way they went about addressing their concerns—including launching a boardroom coup—did little to win supporters to their cause and only served to rally support for Altman. Microsoft offered him a job and extended the same offer to any and all disgruntled OpenAI employees. Salesforce and Nvidia made similar offers to OpenAI staff.

    After significant drama, the situation was finally resolved with Altman returning and most of the board departing.

    Winner: Nvidia

    Few could argue that Nvidia has become the face of the AI revolution—at least when it comes to the hardware powering it. The company’s hardware has been at the heart of AI development, powering some of the most innovative developments in the industry.

    It’s no surprise that Nvidia’s value has skyrocketed as a result of the position it enjoys, although the company does face some difficulties ahead. Most notably, ongoing tension between the US and China continues to create challenges for the company, with the US striving to keep advanced semiconductor and AI technology out of China’s hands. Nvidia has worked around these restrictions by making chips that slip below the export thresholds the US sets, but Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo recently warned Nvidia about continuing to do so.

    Loser: Intel

    Once the king of the semiconductor market, Intel has long since been eclipsed, both in value and technology. The company has also missed out on being the driving force behind major segments in the industry, with TSMC the preferred semiconductor manufacture for mobile device makers and the aforementioned Nvidia the preferred provider of AI hardware.

    Intel has been working hard to reclaim its crown and has certainly made headway under CEO Pat Gelsinger. Nonetheless, those efforts have been blunted by massive losses, including the single worst quarterly loss in company history in 2023. Gelsinger and team clearly have much more to do if Intel has any hopes of recapturing its former glory.

    Winner: Linux

    “The year of the Linux desktop” has become something of a meme, but there’s no denying that Linux on the desktop made serious headway in 2023. While the open source operating system has yet to truly rival macOS and Windows, Linux crossed the 3% mark in 2023—its highest recorded share of the desktop market.

    As we previously wrote, there are a number of major developments in the Linux desktop space poised to make 2024 an even better year. KDE Plasma 6, the release of System 76’s Rust-based Cosmic desktop, and the Linux Mint team working on Wayland adoption are just a few of the projects that could spur further adoption. The single biggest factor, however, could be Microsoft Windows.

    Loser: Microsoft Windows

    Once the undisputed king of the desktop, with more than 95% of the market in January 2009, Windows is down to a 72% share at the end of 2023. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the problem is likely to get worse.

    Microsoft has slated Windows 10 for EOL in October 2025, meaning it will no longer receive updates or security fixes. An estimated 240 million PCs will be rendered obsolete, unable to run Windows 11.

    Fortunately for many users and companies, however, Linux runs perfectly on computers that Windows no longer supports, and distributions such as Linux Mint can often serve as near-drop-in replacements for Windows. This alone could help drive a significant number of users to Linux, further lowering Windows’ overall market share.

    Winner: Privacy

    2023 saw a number of threats to user privacy, although the biggest of those were defeated. The UK was working to pass legislation that would have weakened encryption and forced companies to provide a way to monitor messages. The EU was poised to pass similar legislation.

    In both cases, however, changes were made that preserved user privacy. In the case of the UK, the bill was watered down enough to count as a win for privacy advocates, although there is still enough left in the bill to concern many.

    In the case of the EU, the bloc completely dropped the provision that would require messaging encryption to be weakened.

    Nonetheless, many remain concerned that governments and regulators continue to look for new, less obvious ways to circumvent the very encryption and security the internet relies on.

    Loser: Google

    It’s hard to argue that 2023 was a bad year for the search giant. As consumer privacy awareness grows, Google increasingly finds itself in the crosshair of privacy-minded users, as well as lawmakers.

    The company is also fighting a landmark antitrust case, one that has been damaging to the company’s reputation. The company is also facing antitrust investigations in other counties as well.

    Winner: Tim Cook

    In a year when CEOs committed faux pas, were fired, caught in scandals, and betrayed employee trust with mass layoffs, Apple CEO Tim Cook remained a steady hand at the helm of the world’s most valuable company.

    In addition to his stewardship over the company’s operations, Cook’s tenure has seen Apple develop its Vision Pro, a “revolutionary spatial computer” that may finally take virtual and augmented reality mainstream.

    Loser: Elon Musk

    There are few high-profile executives who have lost more respect, caused more chaos, or courted more controversy than Elon Musk. In the wake of his purchase of Twitter, Musk presided over a disastrous rebranding to “X,” laid off roughly half of the staff, slashed the moderation teams, and has seen the company’s advertisers flee the platform in droves.

    What’s more, Musk’s handling of Twitter has tarnished his reputation as the tech exec who could do no wrong. Tesla, SpaceX, and Starlink have been incredible successes, but Twitter has hung over Musk and his obsession with it has taken a toll on his leadership over those other companies. Tesla investors have slammed the executive’s behavior. To make matters worse, Tesla has faced troubles of its own, including a DOJ investigation into the company’s practices.


    Without a doubt, 2023 was an eventful year for the tech industry, with many developments setting the stage setting the stage for an exciting 2024.

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