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'Top 100 Global Technology Leaders' list places Apple in sixth behind Microsoft, Alphabet

Apple has been included in Thomson Reuters' list of the 'Top 100 Global Tech Leaders,' with the iPhone producer put into sixth place in the rankings of firms identified as 'the industry's most operationally sound and financially successful operations.'

The top position on the list is occupied by Microsoft, followed by chip producer Intel and Cisco in second and third places respectively. IBM landed in fourth place, while Alphabet was given fifth place ahead of Apple's sixth.

The remaining top 10 firms behind Apple include Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing in seventh place, Germany's SAP in eighth, Texas Instruments in ninth, and Ireland's Accenture in tenth. Of the top ten, seven are based in the United States, including all of the top six listed firms.

The list was compiled using an approach developed by Thompson Reuters Labs, using a 28-data-point algorithm that measures performance across eight areas: Financial, Management and Investor Confidence, Risk and Resilience, Legal Compliance, Innovation, People and Social Responsibility, Environmental Impact, and Reputation.

For example, the Financial Performance pillar examines the asset worth, free cash flow per employee, EBITDA-based leverage, operating income margin, three-year revenue growth, and return on invested capital to determine how well the company is doing. Legal Compliance takes into account a firm's average level of litigation per year, as well as the company's capacity to produce quality goods and services that integrate a customer's health and safety, integrity, and data privacy.

While Thompson does offer rankings for the top 10, it does not do so for the rest of the top 100 firms included in the list, though it does identify the included firms. Individual scores for each firm are also not provided.

Thomson Reuters' analysis into the list reveals 45 of the 100 firms are headquartered in the United States, followed by Japan and Taiwan with 13 listed companies each, and then India with five. The list does not include any companies based in Africa, Eurasia, South America, and Antarctica, noting these regions are still emerging in terms of the tech leadership.

Apple regularly features at the higher end of lists such as these, with the company declared the most valuable brand for the fifth consecutive year in September last year, while in July it topped Fortune's annual rankings of U.S. companies in terms of profitability.