Apple is once again tops in the eyes of the business world, according to Fortune.
The iPhone maker took the lead as the world's most admired company for the fifth year in a row.
Selected No. 1 by business professionals polled for Fortune's annual list, Apple was cited for its banner year. CEO Tim Cook was able to steer the company after the resignation and death of Steve Jobs to end 2012 with a prosperous fourth quarter thanks to heavy demand for the iPhone 4s.
Trailing in second place was Google, which went through its own transition last year, passing the CEO baton from Eric Schmidt to co-founder Larry Page. Fortune noted that after Page took the reins, the company refocused itself into six core product areas, such as search, social, mobile, and ads.
Amazon took home the third spot, lauded for its strategy of giving up short-term profits in return for long-term gains.
Other tech players among the 50 most admired included IBM (No.5), Microsoft (No. 17), Samsung (No. 34), Intel (No. 36), eBay (No. 41), Cisco System (No. 42), AT&T (No. 46), and Oracle (No. 49).
To compile its most admired list, Fortune started with around 1,400 global companies based on revenue and other factors. The magazine then hired a polling firm to pare down the list and solicit the opinions from executives, analysts, and other business people to choose the cream of the crop. Those polled ranked their favorite companies based on investment value, social responsibility, and other areas.
For this year's rankings, 3,855 business professionals were asked to pick the 10 companies they most admired.
Of course, even the most admired companies can suffer some slings and arrows.
Apple recently came under fire over working conditions at its Foxconn supplier in China. An online petition made the rounds calling for the iPhone maker to pressure suppliers such as Foxconn to improve conditions for their workers.
In defense, Cook has insisted that Apple does more to try to improve factory conditions than do other tech companies that use Foxconn as a supplier. Apple recently hired an independent group to investigate conditions at the Foxconn plants, a process that has already uncovered issues.