Apple: Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

March 1, 2012

The world’s richest, most-powerful, sexiest, worst, innovative, lucrative, believable, ugliest — whatever. There is an absurdity to lists that purport to codify the “mostest” of anything and, for whatever reason, Apple seems to top both the best and worst subjective enumerations — here’s a fine, fine example of this time honored meme generating paradigm in action.

Admired: Regard (an object, quality, or person) with respect or warm approval.

The Hay Group surveyed 3,855 executives at 698 companies in 32 countries and discovered, for the fifth consecutive year, that Apple is the world’s most admired company and just effuses all over themselves in their set up:

To say it was another big year for Apple would be a gross understatement. The company’s annual revenues climbed to $108 billion, led by an 81 percent increase in iPhone sales — a jump that doesn’t factor in the runaway success of the iPhone 4S — and a 334 percent spike in iPad sales, due in no small part to the revamped iPad 2. Increased sales across the board explain why shares soared 75 percent during the company’s fiscal year to $495.

      01. Apple
      02. Google
      04. Coca-Cola
      05. IBM
      06. FedEx
      07. Berkshire Hathaway
      08. Starbucks
      09. Procter & Gamble
      10. Southwest Airlines

More than just money?

Apple executives and Steve Jobs in particular are well known for repeatedly stating it’s not about the money. Then again, with about $100 billion in cash reserves and a seemingly unlimited license to print more, certainly filthy lucre is more than a little important regardless of what they say.

And, whether one looks at the App Store (i.e. limited dev freedoms vs high dev payouts) or the treatment of factory workers in China (i.e. abuses are happening, yet Apple is a top rated employer over there), it’s the apparent (superficial?) contradictions that stand out most.

Fundamentally, Apple has become exceptional because it makes hard choices and then executives ruthlessly…

Could Apple be any other way and still be great?

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