How do you like them, Apple? MIT’s top 50 smartest companies excludes iPhone-maker

20 Feb 2014

Image via Hasloo Group Production Studio/Shutterstock

According to MIT’s Technology Review, the smartest company in the world is a genome-sequencing specialist in the US, while one Californian tech giant isn’t even worthy of the top 50.

The Technology Review publishes a top 50 on an annual basis and previous countdowns have listed the most ‘innovative’ and ‘disruptive’ companies in the world. This year, the magazine went with simply the ‘smartest’ – and, despite consistently appearing in the top 10 since 2010, Apple was found wanting.

Top of the list is Illumina, which is said to have outflanked and outlasted competitors in its market just as it’s about to take off. Already responsible for 70pc of the genome-sequencing machines market, the firm announced last year that 10 of its latest machines used in parallel could sequence a person’s genome for US$1,000 – a vital stepping stone to the clinical application of sequencing.

Illumina is followed on the list by electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors, the company led by Elon Musk and reportedly being courted by Apple, to no avail.

Last year, Apple ranked sixth place in the Technology Review top 50, but in the 2014 edition, the iPhone-maker is nowhere to be seen, while tech rivals Google and Samsung lord it up in the top 10.

The list is categorised by energy, biotech, computing and communications, internet and digital media, and transportation. Headline-making tech companies litter the chart, including Snapchat, Kickstarter, Uber, Evernote, SpaceX and Jawbone. There are also plenty of old favourites, such as IBM, Qualcomm and Amazon.

Some less-familiar names on the list, but certainly ones to watch out for, include mobile payments provider Square at No 9, and Xiaomi at No 30. Xiaomi is a Chinese start-up well-positioned to capitalise on the smartphone boom in emerging markets.

MIT Technology Review’s top 10 smartest companies in the world

  1. Illumina
  2. Tesla Motors
  3. Google
  4. Samsung
  6. Dropbox
  7. BMW
  8. Third Rock Ventures
  9. Square
  10. Amazon

Four of those companies – Google,, Dropbox and Amazon – have operations in Ireland.

‘Smartest’ image by Hasloo Group Production Studio via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.