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In a relatively unsurprising move, Apple has topped BusinessWeek’s annual list of the top innovative companies from around the world.  Apple has topped BusinessWeek’s most innovative list since its inception in 2005.

According to BusinessWeek, Apple’s high ranking is mostly attributed to the success of the App Store:

“Apple polished its revolutionary image in 2008 with its online iPhone App Store. While its Mac and iPod expand share, success in the supposedly mature cell-phone market is one of the greatest achievements of CEO Steve Jobs…”

Google was ranked second, and Toyota was third on the list with both companies holding the same spots from last year.  Microsoft was able to move up one spot, from fifth to fourth, and Nintendo jumped up two spots to round out the top five.

The rankings were determined mostly by results from a December 2008 survey in which a 20-question poll was sent out to senior executives around the world.  The 2,700 respondents were asked to name companies that consistently offer inventive products, customer experiences, business models, or processes.  To make the survey fair, senior executives who chose their own employers were disqualified.  The financial performance of each of the top vote-getters also played a small role in the rankings.

Apple definitely has their work cut out for them because many other mobile phone companies already have implemented, or have plans to implement their own application stores, so when Apple tops next year’s list, it will be that much sweeter.