Fortune today released its annual ranking of the world’s most admired companies. Apple topped the charts yet again, but on the lower parts of the list something interesting happened: Microsoft fell from 17th in 2013, to 24th in 2014. The score puts the company far behind its current rivals in the platform wars: Amazon took second place and Google took third.
Why the yawning delta between Microsoft and its foes? It could be that despite several quarters of strong earnings, Microsoft’s long-suffering reputation in the new mobile era has dragged it south.
Here’s Fortune’s entry for Microsoft:
The question of who would inherit Microsoft’s CEO mantle gnawed at the tech giant for a good deal of 2013, but, ultimately, new chief Satya Nadella arrived on the heels of rosy earnings and strong sales of Xbox, tablets, and commercial cloud services. Now it’s up to the 22-year Microsoft veteran to chart a new course for the company through the cloud, mobile, and devices – while predecessors Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer continue to look on from their board seats.
The Fortune list is based on responses from business leaders around the world. So, while the grouping is a yearly business vanity test of sorts, it is also a barometer for market opinion on competing firms: who is going up and who is slipping in the eyes of their potential customers.
And finally, given the current tightness of the labor market in technology, reputation can be a weapon when it comes to sourcing talent. Conversely, a lack of reputation can be a material weakness.
Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.