Despite the startling rise in high-tech firms, just one purely Internet company--America Online Inc.--broke into the ranks of the "old economy" stalwarts this year, and only at No. 337 in the annual Fortune 500.
Other technology companies benefiting from the Internet boom climbed in the magazine's rankings, but there was little evidence of the Internet start-ups that have turned twentysomethings into millionaires because the list is based on 1999 revenue, not the companies' stock values.
MCI Worldcom Inc., one of the world's largest carriers of Internet traffic, hit No. 25, up from No. 80, in the list released Sunday and appearing the magazine's April 17 issue. Dell Computer Co., the largest seller of computers in the country, climbed to 56 from 78.
Microsoft Corp., the company with the highest market value, rose to 84 from 109, and Cisco Systems Inc., which makes equipment for the Internet, advanced to 146 from 192.
AOL wasn't the only history-maker. Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc. became the first biotechnology company, landing at 463. And Hewlett-Packard Co., No. 13, was the highest-ranking Fortune 500 company with a female chief executive, Carleton Fiorina.
General Motors Corp. remained No. 1 for the 12th-consecutive year, with revenue of $189 billion, but Ford Motor Co. dropped from second to fourth place, displaced by fast-growing retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc., previously in third.
GM's lead over Wal-Mart, which had $166 billion in revenue, may look sizable, but Wal-Mart has had annual growth in the double digits for more than a decade, while GM's revenue dropped in 1998.
In third place was oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp., following the merger of Exxon Corp., previously No. 4, and Mobil Corp., ranked No. 6 in 1998.
General Electric Co. remained fifth in revenue, but led in profit, stuffing its coffers with $10.7 billion. IBM Corp. stayed in sixth place, followed by Citigroup Inc., also unchanged from last year. AT&T; Corp. climbed from 10th to eighth, pushing down Philip Morris Cos. Inc. to ninth. Boeing Co. fell from ninth to 10th.
Total profits for the 500 firms grew 28.7%, thanks to a hot economy and the easing Asian fiscal crisis, which dropped earnings 1.8% in 1998.
Revenue grew by 10.2%, also an improvement on 1998 growth of 4%.