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.

Apple
Apple
Top 20 rank: 1
Rank in Computers: 1
It is a tribute to its CEO that Apple, which ten years ago seemed headed for the slag heap, is No. 1 on this list. Steve Jobs has always had a knack for weaving magic out of silicon and software. But who knew he could build a $24 billion (in sales) company on the strength of a portable jukebox and a computer with a single-digit market share?

His pitch, as he leveraged the success of the iPod, was very simple: Apple products work, and if you buy more than one, they work better. The company (if not its stock) is on a tear, but even with the economy weakening, it will be interesting to see how economically sensitive this growth engine is.  -Philip Elmer-DeWitt
See how Apple 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)