Why Apple Always Wins the “World’s Most Admired Companies” Award

The tech giant has now topped Fortune's annual list for a whopping 15 years in a row

Apple CEO Tim Cook (CENTER L) attends the grand opening event of the new Apple store at The Grove on November 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The tech company just topped Fortune's Most Admired Companies list.
Apple CEO Tim Cook at the grand opening of the new Apple store at The Grove in Los Angeles.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Another year, another win for Apple on Fortune‘s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list.

This marks the 15th year in a row that Apple as topped the annual rankings, which also saw Amazon and Microsoft come in second and third; that top three repeated that order for the third year in a row. The list is based on a poll of 3,740 corporate executives, directors and analysts. Respondents selected the 10 companies they admired most, choosing from companies that ranked in the top 25% in last year’s surveys, plus those that finished in the top 20% of their industry.

When breaking down the list, Apple gets a lot of credit from its business rivals. As the publication notes: “For the industry rankings, we ask respondents to rate their peers numerically on nine specific criteria, offering a more detailed window on where those companies shine. Apple, for example, landed in the top 10 — among all companies in all industries — in eight of those nine categories, and got the top score overall in three: ‘quality of products,’ ‘ability to attract, develop, and retain talented people,’ and ‘soundness of financial position.’”

Some other highlights of the list:

  • Pfizer, which made the list for the first time in 16 years, came in at No. 4. That leap was credited to the company’s development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Danaher (No. 37) made the top 50 for the first time. The company makes COVID tests and drug-development equipment.
  • The much-maligned Alphabet still came in at No. 7 — the owners of Facebook and pushers of the metaverse actually scored particularly well in the categories of “people management” and “quality of products/services.”

Apple certainly has its share of issues as a company: The last few months has seen the Cupertino-based tech giant chastised for their long-held positions on customer self-repair, plus high costs, spyware issues, App Store payments and AirTag stalking. That said, Tim Cook & co. seem to react better than most tech brands to complaints, and they’ve made privacy more of a centerpiece of their discussions.

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