Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

Fortune: Apple, Inc. Is Still the World's Most Admired Company

By Daniel Sparks - Mar 3, 2014 at 8:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

But how long can Apple continue to remain at the top?

Apple's ( AAPL -1.17% ) conservative valuation at just 13 times earnings is reflective of the reserved outlook the Street has for the company. With no new product categories in the post-Steve Jobs' era, the market is getting antsy to see if Apple can still launch successful enough blockbuster products to meaningfully move its already-massive bottom line. But despite these doubts, there is still a general sentiment of immense admiration for the world's most valuable publicly traded company. In fact, according to a recent study by Fortune, Apple is still the world's most admired company.

The study
This isn't the first time Apple has topped Fortune's annual list of "Most Admired Companies" -- far from it, in fact. Apple has topped the list for seven consecutive years.

To rank the companies, Fortune surveys corporate peers including executives, directors, and industry analysts. The study's topics include, innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment, quality products and services, and global competitiveness. Apple ranked first among industry peers in seven out of nine of these attributes.

Fortune notes that Interbrand ranked Apple as the most valuable brand on the planet in 2013.

What's next for Apple?
Can Apple hold its spot of admiration among the world's best companies? The answer to this question could make or break the company as an investment. All Apple really needs to do to reward investors at these conservatively valued levels is maintain its pricing power and mindshare among consumers.

Patents aren't enough intangible assets to help Apple remain so admired. Apple will have to persist at the forefront of technological innovation in the coming years to preserve its unnatural gross profit margins and monstrous levels of annual revenue.

With a very limited product line, every new gadget that comes out of Apple's pipeline matters. And Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the company has products in "new categories" this year, so we will soon see how well the company can execute such an important milestone. Cook has a lot to live up to; the last two new product categories for the company were the iPad and iPhone -- two products that catapulted the company to success the market never imagined.

iPhone 5s.

While it's no surprise that Apple took the top place again on Fortune's list given that it has done so in six years prior to this year's survey, it's a nice affirmation for Apple shareholders. But it's in 2014 that Apple will really be tested. As Fortune author Erika Fry attests, "but fan boys and girls (not to mention the market) are getting antsy to see its next big product." Where could a new product come from? "Bets are on a smartwatch or AppleTV, but the company is also reportedly turning its attention to cars and medical devices," Fry notes.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$161.84 (-1.17%) $-1.92

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/04/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.