Fortune magazine has released their list of Top 50 Most Admired Companies for the year 2011, and Apple tops the list for the fourth consecutive year. Other technology companies in the Top 10 are Google (No. 2), Amazon.com (No. 7), and Microsoft (No. 9).
The phrase “technology company” is used casually in this case, as Fortune has its own system of classification for all the various companies. Apple, for example, tops the “Computers” category, while Google holds the crown in “Internet Service and Retailing“.
Say what you about the Cupertino-based company, Apple has indeed exceeded expectations in its sales figures quarter after quarter, nearly doubling its quarterly profits from a year ago. The company’s clockwork-like schedule for product releases have also left competitors scrambling to catch up. The launch of the iPad a year ago, the iPad 2 just a few days ago, and strong rumours of an iPad 3 in September 2011 indicate that the company has no intentions of slowing down, despite CEO Steve Jobs’ ill health.
First runner-up Google continues its reign as the top Internet company in the world. It’s easy to see why: the search giant pervades every aspect of our lives, from productivity to funny cat videos. Google’s mobile operating system Android also holds the largest market share in the world, activating more than 10 million devices every day, which feeds more users into its web services ecosystem. With a leadership shuffle earlier this year, the company looks poised to continue pushing its vision of a 100% web-based world.
Trailing close behind Google is online retail giant Amazon.com, which snagged a 7th position overall. No longer just a simple buy-and-sell site, Amazon has diversified its business to include the immensely popular Kindle e-reader and free movie streaming for Amazon Prime customers. The company also has plans for an Android app store, which could hint at an upcoming tablet device, possibly carrying on the Kindle brand. With Amazon’s global distribution power, a Kindle tablet could finally prove to be an iPad killer.
Of course, no list would be complete without the largest software maker in the world: Microsoft. The company has released strong products in 2010 — Windows 7 has sold more than 300 million copies to date, sales of the Xbox with Kinect surpassed 8 million units during the holiday season alone, and Bing is slowly (very slowly) eating into the global search market share.
Improvements to their Windows Live offerings have also been made. Although Microsoft has been criticised for moving too slowly into the smartphone and tablet markets, don’t count them out just yet. CEO Steve Ballmer has called the next release of Windows the company’s “riskiest product bet”, and it’s rumoured to have a unified interface for both traditional laptops and tablet computers. Definitely something to look forward to.
Bonus for Singapore readers: national carrier Singapore Airlines made it into the Most Admired list as well, with an overall position of 18! The airline recently started supporting PayPal payments, and is expected to roll out in-flight WiFi for passengers this year.
For more information on how Fortune selects these companies, visit their FAQ page.
Who’s your most admired tech company?