In its first year without Steve Jobs, Apple managed to climb a notch on our list of most profitable companies. How long it can stay there is another story. 2012 results were driven by the iPhone. In the fourth quarter alone, sales of the smartphone spiked 58% year over year. But sales growth for the iPad dropped, disappointing fanboys and investors used to blowout results. Meanwhile shares have dropped about 40% since September's all-time high on worries over demand, supply issues, shrinking profit margins, and the looming threat of rival Samsung and its Android-driven devices. --T.Z.
Wal-Mart retook the top spot, Berkshire Hathaway made the top five, and Apple grew enormously.