Apple Repeats as #1 Innovator: Can it 3-Peat?
Apple was recently chosen as the #1 Innovator in the world in the annual Global Innovation 1000 Report by Booz & Company. This success rode on the coattails of Steve Jobs’ laser-focused leadership and the success of the iPhone, iPad and iPod products. With CEO Tim cook now at the helm, the key question is: Can Apple Three-Peat?
How companies innovate makes a difference. Innovation can be bought by developing patents through R&D spending (Microsoft is #2 in US R&D spending) or acquiring another company’s patents (e.g., Google acquiring Motorola Mobility). However, innovation can also be purpose-driven as it seems to be at Apple by asking: “What insanely great experience do we want to create for our users?” Although Apple has consistently under-spent its peers in R&D investments, it became the world’s most valuable company (by market capitalization) in mid-August because of its visionary innovation. Thus, a key finding in the Booz and Company study is that there is no statistically significant correlation between a firm’s financial success and its R&D spending.
There are plenty of companies trying to find a chink in Apple’s armor:
- Samsung surpassed Apple as the global smartphone leader for 3Q 2011;
- HTC was crowned as king of the U.S. smartphone market in 3Q;
- Amazon is pushing its Kindle Fire during the holiday season to drive a tipping point for potential Tablet buyers to choose Amazon instead of Apple’s iPad.
- Samsung, HTC and other competitors are in a bitter patent war in an attempt to slow down Apple’s market share gains in different regions.