Top 20 Most Admired Companies

To create the top 20, Fortune and its survey partners at Hay Group asked the experts -- in this case, more than 3,700 people from dozens of industries -- to select the 10 companies they admire most. This year's winners all have strong records of innovation, leadership, and financial strength -- and their employees know it.

Microsoft
Microsoft
Top 20 rank: 16
Rank in Computer Software: 3
Yes, Microsoft's stock price has been flat for the past few years, and sure, those haughty Apple TV ads portraying Microsoft's flagship Windows operating system as a hapless schlump sting. Nevertheless, the software giant has kept its perennial position among the ranks of America's Most Admired Companies.

One big reason is that Microsoft, through thick and thin, consistently outperforms the rest of the IT industry in growth and profitability. Still, it finds itself in the uncomfortable position of playing catch-up to Google as the standard setter for the Internet, as evidenced by the recent $45 billion "semi-hostile" bid to acquire Yahoo.  -Brent Schlender
See how Microsoft rates in 8 key areas
Last updated March 03 2008: 2:10 PM ET

Apple

Berkshire Hathaway

General Electric

Google

Toyota Motor

Starbucks

FedEx

Procter & Gamble

Johnson & Johnson

Goldman Sachs

Target

Southwest Airlines

American Express

BMW

Costco

Microsoft

UPS

Cisco Systems

3M

Nordstrom
Most admired: Full list See how 317 top companies rate in 8 key areas. (more)
Most admired in your state California is home to the most corporations on this year's list. See the top-rated firms near you. (more)
Game: How admirable are you? Can you match each quote to the Most Admired company it refers to? See how admirably you score. (more)