Apple Again Named Most Admired Company

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Fortune has released its annual list of the most admired companies in the world and yet again, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is on top, beating out its peers to be named the most admired company for the seventh year in a row.

Fortune compiles the list by taking 1,000 companies in the U.S. ranked by revenue along with foreign companies that make $10 billion or more per year. The survey then takes the 15 largest in each international industry plus the 10 largest in each U.S. industry and ranks them based on nine different characteristics, including investment value and social responsibility. Analysts, executives, and others in each industry rate the companies based on those nine criteria, and from those ratings Fortune created lists of the most admired companies within 57 different industries. Once the different industry lists are compiled, the survey’s 3,290 respondents picked their most admired companies overall from a list of the top 25 percent from last year’s results and the top 20 percent of each industry list.

Apple is followed by competitors Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the second and third spots, respectively. The top three entries are the only tech companies in the top 10. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA) took the fourth spot, followed by beverage makers Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) in five and six. Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS), FedEx (NYSE:FDX), Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), and General Electric (NYSE:GE) round out the top 10.

Other tech companies that made the list include International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) at No. 16, Apple’s South Korean arch-enemy Samsung Electronics (SSNLF.PK) at 21, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) at 24, and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) at 38.

The survey comes as some seem to be questioning Apple’s prospects for innovation, chances for success outside the increasingly saturated smartphone market, and ability to appeal to consumers in emerging markets. The company hasn’t released a new product line since the iPad came out in 2010, and while the latest iPhone lineup has had record sales, they haven’t been quite as high as analysts had expected.

Recent research has shown that while institutional ownership of large-cap stocks are currently at an all-time high, Apple is falling behind. The company is at a five-year low among hedge funds, banks, mutual funds, and other powerful financial institutions.

Apple still has many analysts supporting it. Some think that the company will continue innovating at its own pace rather than putting out products before they are ready in order to cater to the market, and whatever product line is released next will be as much of a game-changer as the iPad and iPhone because Apple takes such time and care to develop its products. Analyst Katy Huberty believes that those large institutions are underestimating Apple and herself has some very high hopes for the anticipated iWatch, which is expected to be Apple’s entrance into the wearable tech market, rumored to be coming later this year.

Despite the trepidation that some are feeling about the company and the inevitable criticisms that come from being such a large and high-profile entity, Apple is still highly respected among its peers and is looking toward an exciting 2014.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS