Every year, Fortune compiles a list of the Top 50 most admired companies in the world. They do this by asking readers and other business people to cast their vote for the company they most admire, then rank the companies based on a composite score. This year, 4 out of the top 5 are tech companies! This says a lot about the industry. It may have something to do with the fact that it appears to be a bright spot in this sluggish economy of ours. Or maybe people just admire their constant innovation, their great products, and their consistent awesomeness (not to mention their ability to make tons of money – this was voted on by business people, after all). The one non-tech company? Coca-Cola.
1) Apple – No surprise here. It was a huge year for Apple. Despite the passing of the great Steve Jobs, Apple became the most valuable company on the planet thanks to huge increases in sales of the iPhone and iPad.
2) Google – Under the leadership of Larry Page, Google isn’t just about search. Gmail and YouTube are enormously popular. 700,000 Android phones are activated every day. This is incredible! The tech giant also finally unveiled its much anticipated social network, Google+.
3) Amazon – It was a big year for Amazon as well. Revenues climbed to $48 billion and they sold an estimated 6 million Kindle Fires during the holidays (not quite the “iPad killer” some had hoped for, though). I think people just love the Amazon shopping experience and that’s the real reason why they are so high on this list.
4) Coca-Cola – A couple years ago, I visited the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta and couldn’t help but be amazed by this company. I’m not a huge fan of Coke or anything (I don’t even care about the age-old Pepsi vs Coke debate) but the company and its history are quite astounding. I’d say this spot on the list is well-deserved. Despite the fact that sales have flat-lined in America, the brand continues to grow globally. You can literally buy a Coke anywhere – even in the middle of the Amazon.
5) IBM – I was actually really surprised to find IBM so high on the list. To me, they fit the stereotype of a dinosaur tech company on the verge of extinction. But apparently I was wrong. They are making quite the comeback thanks to business analytics tools, cloud computing, and the whole “Smarter Planet” initiative. And they are growing like crazy in countries like Brazil, India, and China.