BusinessWeek released its list of top 100 Information Technology companies this week and Apple made a solid showing at #4 (up from #6 last year). This is fairly unsurprising and even BusinessWeek notes that "Apple has been so successful in recent years that it's almost boring." Over the past year, Apple's sales growth has been 56 percent with total sales around US$17.3 billion. Since no one has yet brought forth the mythic iPod-killer and the Intel Macs have brought new features (coughWindowscough) and burgeoning computer sales, Apple looks to be in a very solid position going into the upcoming fiscal year.
So, yay Apple and all that, but what caught my eye was the company in the #2 spot on the list: Hon Hai Precision Industries. Never heard of them? Well, according to BusinessWeek, they are Taiwan's leading electronics company and unlike their Taiwanese competitors, Hon Hai isn't interested in building their own brand in the consumer market. Instead Hon Hai provides outsourced manufacturing for the likes of… (all together, people!) Apple Computer, which brings us to another interesting bit of news. Last week the Chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry, Terry Gou, made a statement to Bloomberg about the company's various upcoming prospects. The one that got everyone's panties in a twist was a brief statement that "Apple is about to unveil the next generation of iPod, the best-selling music player in the U.S., using a 'none-touch' concept." So what does "a 'none-touch' concept" mean? Well, apparently, nobody besides Gou (who gave no further details) and Apple really know. But between us, I bet we can all think of plenty of zoomy possibilities to keep the rumor mills humming until this phantom product gets released (and please, oh, please, Apple, don't let it be a typo of "one-touch"!).
BusinessWeek clearly thinks Hon Hai's prospects are good and Apple doesn't tend to collaborate with slouches, so this gives Gou's comments a measure more credibility than "some random guy in Asia said that Apple might do something later." Gou did hint that his company's prospects look better in the second half of the year, so "about to unveil" could still easily mean a couple of months away. This is probably a good thing because it won't leave us Mac users torn between spending our hard-earned pennies on the new anti-grav hovering iPod or Civilization IV. It would be kind of embarrassing to have Civ win.