Cloud companies dominate Forbes’ Most Innovative Cos. List

Salesforce.com is 1; VMware is 3; Amazon.com 7

Who are the most innovative companies in the world? According to Forbes.com, they live in the cloud.

Forbes put out of a list of the 100 most innovative companies and cloud computing firms dominated the top 10, with SaaS leader Salesforce.com being anointed the most innovative company today, while VMware came in at number three and Amazon.com was pegged at 7.

Marc Benioff, the innovator

Tech companies are sprinkled elsewhere throughout the list with semiconductor manufacturer ARM Holdings coming in at number 5 and Chinese search engine Baidu at number 6. Teradata was ranked 42; Google 47 and Citrix at 50. SAP ranked 72 while Apple was slotted in at 79.

See the full list here.

Forbes says it put the list together using a variety of factors, but basically it looked at big-name companies (with at least a market cap of $10 billion) that are innovative now and are expected to be in the future. Each company must spend a certain threshold proportion of its revenues on research and development. Using these factors, Forbes creates what it calls an Innovation Premium, described here:

“It is calculated first by projecting a company’s income (cash flows, in this case) from existing businesses, plus anticipated growth from those businesses, and look at the net present value (NPV) of those cash flows. We compare the NPV of cash flows from existing businesses with a current market capitalization: Companies with a current market cap above the NPV of cash flows have an innovation premium built into their stock.”

Aside from Forbes’ rankings, between VMware and Amazon.com which company is really more innovative though? Based purely on their cloud business, it’s hard to make a case against Amazon Web Services. The company has the broadest and richest set of features of any IaaS provider; it basically invented the public cloud IaaS market and has never looked back. VMware, meanwhile is a popular platform for private clouds with its virtualization software, but it’s just entering the public cloud market.

While Amazon has a bevy of cloud providers biting at its bits, VMware is dealing with Microsoft chipping away at the virtualization software on both the compute and networking side that have been the company’s mainstay.

[NEWS TODAY: Microsoft virtual networking upgrades keep pressure on VMware ]

As for Salesforce.com: Like Amazon, the company defined the SaaS market and has begun expanding into the PaaS market now but competitors like SAP, Oracle and NetSuite are coming along strong.

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