If I would ask you: which is the most innovative company in the world? I think majority would reply: Apple.
It is pretty fascinating how Apple turned around from being a sort-of-cool-but-nobody-cares to de-facto standard of innovation in recent years.
Clearly, major part of it is Steve Jobs, and his marketing skills. I always was of the opinion that it does not make much difference if you have the best or coolest technology in the world, what matters is how good can you sell it.
Microsoft has been dominating not because of solid technology platform, but because of Bill Gates’s monopolistic marketing tactics.
Apple products are beautiful and easy to use (oh though not the best from hardware perspective), and Job’s selling skills are second to none.
I also think, that Apple is very good not only at inventing cool products, but identifying interesting ideas outside of Apple world, and quickly embracing them. NIH (not invented here) – is really not part of their DNA.
And that is in my opinion – the trick to a successful company.
Many people can come up with good ideas once in a while, but very few can have a consistent combination of own ideas, other people ideas all melted into single vision and consistent execution.