Fortune’s most-admired companies: Amazon 3rd, Starbucks 5th, Microsoft 17th

According to Fortune, the state of Washington has some admirable companies.

Fortune released its 2013 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list today, with five Washington corporations in the top 25.

Amazon finished at an impressive No. 3, while fellow tech-titan Microsoft came in at No. 17.

Three other Washington companies made the top 100: Starbucks at 5th, Nordstrom at 16th and Costco Wholesale at 23rd.

Apple and Google topped the list at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

To make the list, companies were ranked by Fortune on the following criteria: innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment, quality of products/services, and global competitiveness.

Here’s what they had to say about the five Washington companies:

Amazon

There are few competitors in sight for the retail giant that is Amazon.com. With its low prices, efficient customer service and rapid geographical growth, it stands to become the largest beneficiary of the e-commerce industry boom. Last year Fortune ranked CEO Jeff Bezos as its Businessperson of the Year on the back of the company’s stellar growth, especially in its Amazon Web Services and Kindle divisions. The company continues to take on a variety of competitors, going after Netflix’s streaming services, Google and Apple’s tablets, and brick-and-mortar stores across the country. There’s even talk of an Amazon smartphone.

Starbucks

The world’s largest coffee chain kicked off its astronomical rise in 1971 when it opened its doors as a small Seattle cafe. Since then, the world has learned a whole new coffee vocabulary, full of phrases like “grande soy caramel macchiato” and “half-caf venti skinny Mochaccino.” After the company was forced to close hundreds of stores in the wake of the financial crisis, Starbucks’ celebrity CEO, Howard Schultz, orchestrated a back-to-basics turnaround that led the company big post-recession growth. That momentum hasn’t slowed. Starbucks earned record $13.3 billion in revenue last year, a 14% increase from the year before.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom announced plans in June to open its first full-line retail store in Manhattan, an announcement that drew much fanfare (including a statement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg). Only, the store won’t open until 2018. The buzz surrounding an opening five years away simply demonstrates the reputation that Nordstrom has generated among shopaholics across the country. The Seattle-based retailer has 117 full-line stores across the 31 states, but it’s Nordstrom Rack, the company’s clearance store, that has really taken off. Nordstrom Rack stores already outnumber full-line stores, and the company plans to add 16 more locations in 2013. By 2016, Nordstrom expects to have 230 Rack retail locations in operation.

Outside of retail, the Nordstrom family has made good with its hometown customers in recent weeks. Members of the company’s founding family are tied to an ownership group looking to bring an NBA-franchise back to the city of Seattle. (The Seattle Supersonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008).

Microsoft 

While revenues in the latest quarter were up 5.3%, the once dominant Microsoft is facing an uphill battle, as consumers are slow to adopt Windows 8. However, Windows, along with Office, continues to be its most profitable product and the company is experiencing growth in its enterprise-based divisions as opposed to its traditional consumer based market. Microsoft still has a few tricks up its sleeve with its ownership of the Xbox, Skype and its cloud based file-sharing/storage solutions. As users become more accustomed with Windows’ presence across multiple platforms, the company is expecting to have solid, if not spectacular results.

Costco

Last year marked Costco’s third consecutive year of record sales and record earnings. The Washington state-based company brought in $97 billion in sales in 2012 and $1.7 billion in profits, making it the seventh-largest retailer in the world. The company sells consumer goods in bulk and makes a point of relentlessly driving down prices (18 bags of Pop Chips go for $8.89). That price-cutting has won loyalty among Americans increasingly strapped for cash. Even Vice President Joe Biden was recently seen shopping in one of the company’s cavernous stores. Shortly after the election he stopped by to pick up a few books, Duraflame logs, and some pie.

And here’s the top-20 list:  

1. Apple
2. Google
3. Amazon
4. Coca-Cola
5. Starbucks
6. IBM
7. Southwest Airlines
8. Berkshire Hathaway
9. Walt Disney
10. FedEx
11. General Electric
12. McDonald’s
13. American Express
14. BMW
15. Procter & Gamble
16. Nordstrom
17. Microsoft
18. Nike
19. Whole Foods Market
20. Caterpillar

  • chris

    err, fortune, not forbes.

    • Taylor Soper

      Whoops. Thanks for catching that, Chris. I fixed it. Thanks for reading.

  • guest

    Congrats to Apple, Google, and Amazon. For MS though, it’s well past time to fire Ballmer.

  • Guest

    Congrats to Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft for representing the Pacific Northwest proudly!

    • http://www.facebook.com/robofhood Robert Hammond

      Don’t forget about Nike and Nordstrom.

  • Mark

    MS’s ongoing decline continues…