Apple Tops BusinessWeek's Fifth Annual Ranking of the 25 Most Innovative Companies in the World

NEW YORK, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- For the fifth consecutive year, Apple has topped the list of "The 25 Most Innovative Companies" in BusinessWeek's annual special report, produced in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group. Google, Toyota Motor, Microsoft, and Nintendo round out the top five. Newcomers to this year's top-25 list include Samsung, Volkswagen, and Coca-Cola.

Not that long ago, innovation was a must-do priority for business. Now research and development might seem more like vacation homes and new cars--luxuries that will have to wait for better times. In an annual survey of top executives by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), more respondents said that innovation spending will be flat or down than since the ranking began in 2005. On the other hand, after focusing on shorter-term, lower-risk projects, a majority said they're satisfied with their returns on innovation investments. But recession and market meltdown aside, many of the corporations on the 2009 ranking are finding ways to forge ahead.

Perennial top vote-getters shouldn't take their positions for granted. Apple, which has always held the survey's top position, had 33% fewer votes this year than in 2008, while Google, consistently the list's No. 2, had 31% fewer. Why? Wrote one respondent of Apple: "Their products are improvements on previous technology. Their execution is flawless, but they are not necessarily innovative." Another respondent had the same criticism of Google: "Resting on past glory (search). Spending a lot on new things but no new breakthroughs."

To determine the list of the 25 most innovative companies, the Boston Consulting Group once again asked executives to name corporations that consistently offer inventive products, customer experiences, business models, or processes. BCG then factored in the financial performance of the top vote-getters. The final list weighted the survey results 80%, stock returns 10%, and three-year revenue and margin growth 5% each. In the case of privately held companies, BusinessWeek used metrics equal to industry performance to compare financial data.

BusinessWeek's special report, "The World's Most Innovative Companies," is featured in the April 20th issue, on newsstands April 10th. will also feature expanded content, including an interactive table of the full ranking of the top 50 most innovative companies, a slide show on 50 up-and-coming innovative companies, and full methodology, at


                         Rank         Company
                     2009    2008
                       1       1      Apple
                       2       2      Google
                       3       3      Toyota Motor
                       4       5      Microsoft
                       5       7      Nintendo
                       6      12      IBM
                       7      15      Hewlett-Packard
                       8      13      Research in Motion
                       9      10      Nokia
                      10      23      Wal-Mart Stores
                      11      11
                      12       8      Procter & Gamble
                      13       6      Tata
                      14       9      Sony
                      15      19      Reliance Industries
                      16      26      Samsung Electronics
                      17       4      General Electric
                      18      NR      Volkswagen
                      19      30      McDonald's
                      20      14      BMW
                      21      17      Walt Disney
                      22      16      Honda Motors
                      23      27      AT&T
                      24      NR      Coca-Cola
                      25      47      Vodafone

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