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Apple No. 5 in Fortune 500, and Ahrendts Among Tech’s Top Visionaries

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Apple has moved to fifth place on Fortune’s annual 500 list, in which US companies are ranked by total revenue for the fiscal year. Last year Apple ranked sixth.

Apple’s net sales keep climbing, as the tech giant continues to sell more iPhones and digital content. But the company faces pressure in the smartphone business, as Android phones grow increasingly dominant. Meanwhile, Apple reported an annual drop in net income in fiscal year 2013, a first in more than a decade. Activist investor Carl Icahn last year disclosed a stake in Apple and subsequently pushed for the company to spend billions on share buybacks. In April, the company increased the amount of shares it is authorized to repurchase and raised its quarterly dividend by 8%, and in late May it announced it was acquiring Beats Music and Beats Electronics for $3 billion.

With close to half a trillion dollars, Wal-Mart retained its top ranking. The company edged out Exxon Mobil for the second year in a row, as its sales grew domestically.

Looking at the list, we can see that the first three positions remain unchanged since last year. The aforementioned Wal-Mart remains at No. 1, Exxon Mobile keeps the second position, and Chevron stays third.

The changes start from the fourth position, where we see Berkshire Hathaway, up from no. 5, and the top five companies of this year’s Fortune’s 500 is completed by Apple.

Alongside the above list, Fortune has released its list of the most innovative, visionary technology leaders in this year’s Fortune 500, and Angela Ahrendts, Apple SVP of Retail and Online Stores, is among them.

Last year, Apple poached Ahrendts from Burberry, where she’d been CEO for eight years. Under her tenure, Burberry transitioned from a sleepy brand known for rain gear to a digital innovator that’s among the top five largest luxury brands in the world. She’s known for creating a culture of innovation at Burberry, even as the rest of the luxury industry remains cautious about digital. Ahrendts will be tasked with revitalizing Apple’s retail business and integrating its online commerce business with its stores. (Previously, they were separate.) She’ll also be key to Apple’s retail expansion into China, a region with which she’s very familiar: Burberry has more than 70 stores there.

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