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Debate: Who's the Most Innovative Company of 2010?

Posted by: Michael Arndt on March 8, 2010

We’re a month away from publishing our Most Innovative Companies ranking for 2010, dear readers. Let’s see if your opinion matches those in our survey of top-level execs around the globe. Who do you think will top this year’s list? And who do you think actually deserves to be No. 1? Also, name a newcomer that has earned a slot in the Top 25.

To refresh your memory, here’s 2009’s list. I’ve put an asterisk after companies that were honored in our first ranking, in 2005. The 2010 ranking comes out on April 8.

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

Reader Comments


March 8, 2010 3:40 PM

#1: Apple definately, they've been the most aggressive on innovation.
I don't however, understand how Microsoft makes it even at #4. What have they really innovated? rather they just re-package the same old-stuff in new packaging.


March 8, 2010 6:04 PM

Coca Cola is not healthy. You, the editor, just because you sip a cola doesn't mean you cam censor this. Let the word get out.


March 9, 2010 7:57 PM


Re: Microsoft -

Look at Azure. Look at XBOX & XBOX Live. Look at Microsoft Pivot. Look at Visual Studio 2010. Look at MS Server 2008. There's far more to MS than the desktop experience from which I - assume - you're making these judgment calls.

In fact, a lot of what Apple has done can also be considered re-packaging. What technology within the iPhone didn't exist before the iPhone? Multitouch existed, app-stores existed, etc. What of the iPad? eBook readers surely have existed. That's not to take away from Apple's innovation - they are truly innovative. However, one could call Apple a master re-packager; a master at taking what exists today and packaging it so the masses can enjoy it.


March 10, 2010 6:24 PM

Google is more innovative than Apple. Apple has a phone and a pad. Google has Google Translation, Google Goggles, Google Books, Real-Time Search, Google Docs, etc...

Microsoft is not very innovative, X-box is a knock-off of PS3 and an unreliable low quality knock-off at that. Most of what Microsoft does is lifted from Google, Apple or smaller innovaters.


March 10, 2010 7:19 PM

Most innovative companies (an opinion based on personal interest and followup and not actual scientific research) are:
Cisco Systems


March 12, 2010 3:27 PM

Apple and !


March 13, 2010 1:54 AM

I have to agree with Ben, I would definitely put Microsoft towards the top of the group, if not at the top - you need to look across the whole portfolio of products. With Amazon and Sony being high up there. Apple would be much lower as really they do not seem to a company who repacakges ideas that were created by other people. I am trying to think of one new market they created: mp3 players-no, tablet pcs- no, smartphones- no.


March 13, 2010 2:37 AM

Apple of course Apple as it has continues growth with lots of innovation and has no effect of recession.


March 14, 2010 12:25 AM

TATA :- nano car, cheapest and reliable car ever ! way to go TATA!!!!!

preetam raj

March 14, 2010 11:16 AM

it is apple because Mr.Steve Jobs comes out with the innovative stuff which is really needed by the people.he has made people's life simple.

Jose Herrera

March 15, 2010 12:38 AM

Not sure about McDonalds. What about Pixar and a small (somewhat) unknown company called Universal Display Corp that is making headway with OLEDS

Matt Snyder

March 16, 2010 7:43 PM

Our company, SCIPIO Biofuels is the most innovative company that nobody has heard of, yet.


March 17, 2010 8:55 AM

DEfinitely TATA. look at the variety of innovation, Nano @ USD 2000, water purifier @ USD 20


March 18, 2010 11:41 AM

What's about SME? Big compagnies => innovation? Don't agree at all with this point of view. Think that small compagnies are more innovative than big ones.

Truth be say

March 19, 2010 5:19 PM

is it just me or is this list heavily biased towards the IT industry??...U guys are too cocky...truth is energy industry has had more innovations than the IT so im waiting for at least 5 companies to be on that list...Dude that made the bloom box??

come on...guys, lose the self centredness

Schera Moses

March 20, 2010 9:29 PM

Honda Motors is far more innovation than Toyota simple look a their track record. Honda as the first automaker to design a Hybird. The first company to introduce LEV (low-emmiassion vehicle) and the first to introduce and etire line of LEV

Schera Moses

March 20, 2010 9:29 PM

Honda Motors is far more innovation than Toyota simple look a their track record. Honda as the first automaker to design a Hybird. The first company to introduce LEV (low-emmiassion vehicle) and the first to introduce and etire line of LEV

Yuan Tian

March 23, 2010 5:43 PM

I think that the result of the ranking list largely depends on the definition and standard of innovation. In critical theory, there is a term called “intertextuality” which means that every single text owes some of its content to other text, and there is no 100% originality. To some extent I believe this can be applied to the technology world. To those who insist on innovation meaning brand new ideas, Apple and Microsoft surely can not make onto the list, because that iPad is just an idea repackage of iPhone, and the task bar on Windows7 clearly borrows the idea from Mac. However to those who tolerate certain degree of “plagiarism” and believe that being good at knowing and catering to consumers’ interest is also a kind of innovation, then Apple and Microsoft will definitely go on the list again. As for Google, it did really great in the past year and the only regretful thing is that 1/5 population of the world have to say goodbye to it finally.

Shesh Gupta

March 26, 2010 7:56 AM

apple with its mac book and I phone will definitely be the numero uno.


March 29, 2010 7:50 AM

Innovative company for 2010:

1. Apple
2. Google
3. Amazon
4. Microsoft
5. HP


March 30, 2010 6:42 AM


Look at it from a different prespective, Microsoft spending on R&D is $9.5 billion this year. $3 billion more than rivals.

Michael Arndt

March 30, 2010 12:25 PM

Let me try to stir up the debate. This year's Top 25 includes a half-dozen carmakers, two of which are new. My challenge: Name them, and then tell why they deserve to be there--or not.


March 30, 2010 12:55 PM

HP !?!?!?!
Except for their printers … maybe
The rest of the company’s product development is “sourcing and skinning” at best!


April 1, 2010 4:47 AM

I would be really interested to know more about the judging criteria on what is deemed "innovative"? If it is just baout new products and services that everyone has heard about, the list will skew towards large tech companies and motor manufacturers with big marketing budgets. What about those companies that are improving everyday through harnessing the power of their employee ideas, i.e., incremental innovation? These companies are improving each day, but you won't see it shoudted about.

When the list is published, it woudl be great if the criteria could be outlined as well?

Looking forward to the new list!


April 3, 2010 2:02 AM

where's 3M on the list ?!!

Ali Mohammed

April 6, 2010 12:52 AM

where's Ford Motors on the list ?
they are doing good results !!!


April 13, 2010 10:45 AM

Good list! Even after the “Great Recession” is over we still have to pay the bill.
The IMD OWP 2010 has a presentation by Prof. Stéphane Garelli about Competitiveness in 2010 and beyond, how we are just realizing the immense cost of this recession: huge budget deficits, formidable public debt, historic levels of unemployment and collateral damage such as inflation, bankruptcies and reduced standards of living.

Matt Dykhouse

April 13, 2010 3:22 PM

I would venture a guess that the two new car companies on here would be Nissan and Chevy? I am certainly more sure about Nissan mainly because of the Leaf. And the only other company that came to mind was Chevy and because of the Volt. Although I'm not sure the Volt will have as dramatic an impact as Chevy would like.

Steve in Austin

April 15, 2010 10:11 AM

IBM should be #1 no question. IBM drives innovation. They are partners with every major technology driven company in R&D. We just don't see it like we do with the iPhone or iPad.

Additionally, innovation is more than just a product, it should also be a solution. Apple needs to be #2 because they are a solution provider. The iPhone is not just a phone, it's a App. Store, a music store, and now a gaming store. The iPad is expanding the innovation to include books and publications. The iPad will also change how people use technology in everyday life. Reading the news paper or magazine.

James Edwards

April 19, 2010 6:16 PM

Where is ARM? As the list seems to be completely technology how are they not in the list. The fact that low power high performance processors are available is enabling incredible innovation in so many diverse areas I can't believe they aren't anywhere on the list.

ARM has now licences more chips than there are people on Earth, and sells a billion a year. There products appear everywhere from TV's to Cars, Mobiles to washing machine. ARM is everywhere, except in your list about innovation.

I have to say, on the surface it shows a massive US bias, so perhaps when I'm reading "The most innovative companies" and it should read "Americas most innovative companies".

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