updated 06:15 pm EDT, Thu May 5, 2011
Second-highest computer-industry ranking
Apple has reached 35th place in the influential Fortune 500 rankings of US companies, a leap of 21 spots from their 2010 ranking. The move positions the company as the second highest-ranking computer maker (behind HP, who are ranked at number 11), and in the top five of technology companies generally. The magazine credits Apple's move not only due to significant increases in revenue, profits and marketshare, but also because of the company's ability to create new products and enter markets.
This marks the first time that Apple has been ranked higher than Microsoft in the Fortune 500, though the Redmond-based giant is just behind them in the rankings at number 38. Apple's notable partners, including AT&T, Verizon and Intel also appear in the top 100, at postions 12, 16 and 56 respectively.
Comparing Apple to the top 10-ranked companies, it achieved the most significant percentage increase in profits (146 percent gain), and was the fourth most-profitable company behind Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and top-ranked Wal-Mart. While Wal-Mart secured the top spot again this year based mainly on their enormous revenues ($421 billion, far surpassing all others), their profits were around $16 billion -- a figure Apple may well top in this fiscal year. Apple was also the second-fastest growing company compared to the Top 10, with only Fannie Mae's rebound surpassing Apple's 79 percent year-over-year growth in revenues.
Much of Apple's success relied on the popularity of its iPhone and iPad products, the latter of which did not even begin selling until four months into last year. The 2010 calendar year sales of over 14.7 million unit surprised analysts and pundits alike, and the company's introduction of the iPad 2 in March -- complete with an appearance by an energised but still on medical leave Steve Jobs -- encouraged investors and analysts that the company will carry on growing throughout 2011 and into the foreseeable future.
Fortune also compiled other interesting investor statistics on the company, noting that Apple's 10-year annual average growth was just over 30 percent, and its average annual return to investors over the decade was 45.8 percent. Apple's market cap was estimated to be sitting at $323.8 billion as of the end of March, making it the most valuable technology company in the world. Some analysts expect that even with conservative estimates for future growth, Apple is in contention to become the world's first company worth one trillion dollars in the next few years.
Other notable technology companies in the top 100 rankings include IBM (number 18), Dell (number 41), Cisco Systems (number 62), Comcast (number 66), Amazon (number 78), Sprint Nextel (number 85), Google and Oracle (numbers 92 and 96, respectively). [via CNN Money]