The 10 Most Innovative Tech Companies in the US
Innovation is certainly a tricky metric to pin down, especially in an era when cutting edge software companies abound—and each one positions itself as a leader in tech. But Swiss consulting firm EconSight has perhaps settled the debate (for 2019, at least) by using the PatentSight database to see which tech companies have filed the most patents for digitized applied technologies. The PatentSight study also took into account which companies have continued to expand their research and development in comparison to previous years.
At the top of the list is Korean conglomerate Samsung, followed by American pharmaceutical and consumer staples giant Johnson & Johnson. Of the top 100 most innovative companies, 38% are American businesses, while 21% are Chinese. Other global hotspots for innovation include Japan, Germany, and Korea.
The top 10 most innovative tech companies based in the United States are:
While medical companies showed the greatest amount of growth in terms of innovation (as measured by patent production), tech companies—in internet, software, and hardware—topped the list in terms of quantity of unique, value-adding patents.
The 10 Most Innovative Tech Companies in the US
Alphabet is the parent company of Google, a company that encourages every employer to be an innovator and pursue their own side projects. Google is also not afraid of failure, using offerings that flopped (like Google Dictionary, Wave, and Buzz) as stepping stones to develop new and more useful products. Google’s work with AI has resulted in the most sophisticated search engine in the world, with a consumer-oriented focus that delivers the most relevant results in response to user searches. Google has also developed innovative hardware like the Pixel phones, Google Home smart speakers, and Daydream View virtual reality goggles.
Qualcomm is a San Diego based company that designs and manufactures semiconductors and telecom equipment for the wireless market. Qualcomm—which stands for Quality Communications—was a pioneer in the earliest days of consumer cell phone usage, but they’ve retained their leadership position in patent production through the 3G and 4G eras of mobile tech. After a rocky partnership with Apple which resulted in a 2019 settlement, Qualcomm will provide hardware for Apple on a contractual basis until 2025. In addition to semiconductors, Qualcomm also produces server processors, chipsets, hardware for wirelessly charging vehicles, and a number of software systems.
Intel is another California-based semiconductor maker, the world’s largest in terms of revenue. It’s x86 series of microprocessors is found in more personal computers around the world than any other brand; Intel supplies processors for computer manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Apple. In recent months, Intel has faced some serious competition from longtime rival chipmaker AMD, but Intel has a $12 billion war chest it can leverage against the aforementioned Advanced Micro Devices. At stake is Intel’s ability to retain a whopping 80% market share of PCs and 90% market share of servers that use Intel microprocessors.
Microsoft, the brainchild of computing legend Bill Gates, has been a household name in terms of innovation for decades. Perhaps best known for the Microsoft Windows operating system, it is the world’s second-largest software maker in terms of revenue, behind Google. Microsoft led the way in developing personal computers for consumer use and internet browsing technology. Microsoft is also a key player in the gaming industry with its Xbox hardware and the innovative practice of live multiplayer gaming via the internet. Businesses appreciate the functionalities offered by its office suite software and touchscreen devices. Microsoft continues to be an innovative force in hardware, recently pionering quartz data storage with Project Silica.
Honeywell is most recognized among consumers for their thermostats, but this American conglomerate goes way beyond temperature control. Honeywell is actively involved in commercial aviation, defense, building technologies and systems, energy solutions, and the internet of things (IoT), among other areas. Honeywell’s total global revenue for 2019 was around $37 billion, and their business keeps expanding as they continue to file patents and continue along a path of aggressive acquisitions of similar companies. As far as tech goes, Honeywell is poised to be a major player in the internet of things, as indicated by recent partnerships with Microsoft and Verizon.
Apple is most likely no surprise on this list of most innovative tech companies. The brainchild of the late Steve Jobs, Apple was the other company (aside from Microsoft) that pioneered the era of personal computing. Though they lost traction against Microsoft when the latter opened up new vistas of internet exploration for consumers (with their Explorer Browser), Apple bounced back with their hardware like iPhones, iPads, AirPods, and most recently, the iWatch. But Apple is not just a master of brand building with consumer electronics—some experts have labeled their hardware as the most innovative in the world, such as their most recent generation of phones with facial recognition, top-notch cameras, and bezel-to-bezel screens. CEO Tim Cook attributes Apple’s innovative leadership to its focus on enriching user lives.
GE, or General Electric, was once a household name in the realm of appliances. But today GE is a conglomerate involved in aviation, manufacture, healthcare, power, and software and IT advisory. GE Digital, the arm of the business that focuses on tech, offers cloud-based software and analytic tools, management software, cybersecurity, and machine-based learning AI technology. GE’s Predix Platform PaaS (Platform as a Service) software is at the forefront of the still-developing Internet of Things (IoT), especially in regards to asset performance management (APM) in the industrial sector. GE is hoping that Predix has the same revolutionary effect on manufacturing that Apple had on consumer cell phone usage. GE Digital has also partnered with Microsoft Huawei, Schindler, and Apple, which have benefited from it’s IoT technology.
Amazon has become one of the most recognized names in retail among consumers, but this online marketplace is more than just a place to shop for consumer staples. Amazon is also involved with cloud computing services, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. In fact, Amazon is actually the world’s largest AI and cloud computing platform in terms of revenue and market capitalization. Amazon Web Services has individual, corporate, and even government clients who benefit from its on-demand cloud computing and application program interface options, along with the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, which allows a user to run programs on a cluster of digital computers.
MagicLeap might seem out of place on the list of tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon. But if you haven’t heard of this Florida-based startup, you will soon. Google, AliBaba, and AT&T have all invested in MagicLeap, which designs and manufactures head-mounted virtual retinal displays. These headsets—called Magic Leap One—superimpose computer-generated images over real world objects by projecting the imagery right onto the retina of the eye, making it appear as if the CG visuals exist in reality. Augmented reality and virtual reality are more than just the latest trend in gaming; they will prove useful for training in a variety of disciplines, from construction to medicine—and MagiLeap is pioneering this generation of AR headsets.
InterDigital is another company you may not recognize, but have most likely benefited from their services—they provide wireless and video tech for networks and mobile devices. They are one of the most active companies in the world in terms of filing patents, with around 34,000 domestic and foreign patents and applications for patents. InterDigital is also at the forefront of R&D for 5G networks and the internet of things (IoT). In Europe, InterDigital has partnered universities, telecom companies, and businesses to roll out 5G in urban locations. Other project partners around the world include Disney, Huawaie, Ericsson, and Cisco.
Software Companies lead the way
All of these companies rely on software, even if their primary business is manufacturing hardware—and for others, software is their bread and butter. The time has never been better for qualified individuals looking for software sales jobs to join a successful movement of companies changing the world. No matter what part of the sales process you specialize in, speaking with a software recruiter can help you get matched up with a dynamic company that meets your personal and professional goals; you might even end up at one of the innovative tech companies listed above. Contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if working at an industry innovator is something that piques your interest.