Wired Magazine’s “Wired 40” is about “masters of innovation, technology, and strategic vision – 40 companies driving the global economy,” according to Wired’s Kevin Kelleher. “Old school business types found some solace in the bust – at least the upstarts go their comeuppance. Hardly! With the economy finally perking up, newcomers are running the show: Three of the top five companies in this year’s Wired 40, our annual list of enterprises leading the charge toward a connected global economy, were founded in the past decade. One-third are less than 20 years old,” Kelleher writes for Wired’s June 2004 issue (not yet online).
“This year’s list reflects the churn we’ve come to expect int he tech economy. Only nine selections appeared on the original list back in 1998. Still, the criteria for inclusion remains unchanged. These 40 leaders have demonstrated an uncommon mastery of technology, innovation, globalism, networked communication, and strategic vision – skills essential to thriving in the information age,” Kelleher writes.
After Google at number one (right where they were last year) and Amazon at number two (up from 7th last year), Wired debuts a new company to the Wired 40, Apple Computer, at number three:
“Apple Computer: the new face of consumer electronics. They laughed in 2001 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, Apple’s $400 MP3 player. They laughed in 2003 when he opened the iTunes Music Store, selling songs for 99 cents when million of consumers were downloading tracks for free. But Jobs is having the last laugh, while creating the kind of platform-and-content synergy that gadget makers dream of. Having sold 5 million iPods, Apple owns 55 percent of the music player market. Meanwhile, iTunes has coaxed the Big Five record labels into a single online store and persuaded fans to download – legally – more than 60 million songs, about 70 percent of commercial downloads. And beyond consumers fo digital media, Apple is empowering a new generation of content creators with superior music production (GarageBand) and video editing (iMovie). Put them on the blazing Power Mac G5 and you have the platform of the creative class. DONE: The iPod mini, released in february, is already taking market share from makers of smaller, cheaper music players. TO DO: With iTunes for Windows and the HP-branded iPod, Apple is finally playing well with others. If only it would find more playmates.”
MacDailyNews Note: As of May 5th, Apple had sold 73.3 million songs (source).
Another new company on the list, at number nine, is Steve Jobs’ other company, Pixar. The next PC maker, after Apple, to make the list is Dell, which Wired terms “The Great Commoditizer,” at number 12. IBM’s at 13, Intel at 24, Microsoft at 27. Ejected from last year’s list were Sony, Wal-Mart, and Oracle, among others.