Apple spends way less than Microsoft on R&D

apple spending
The European Union ranked the top 2,000 global companies based on investment in research and development spending.

Critics who say Apple lacks innovation have a new report to underscore their claims: The iGizmo maker barely cracks the top 50 list of corporate research and development spending.

Apple (AAPL) came in at No. 46 on the European Union's R&D spending report released this week, which ranked the top 2,000 global companies.

Though Apple's lack of groundbreaking new products over the past several years has become a popular subject in the technology world, the company has actually been ramping up its investment in R&D over the last several years. Apple's 2012 ranking is 109 places above the spot it nabbed in the EU's 2004 report.

And while several tech companies out-spent Apple in R&D last year, Apple is clearly a different type of company than the likes of No. 2 Samsung, No. 3 Microsoft (MSFT) and No. 13 Google (GOOG). All three of those companies are rivals to Apple, but they also sell a much wider range of products and services.

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Apple also gets more bang for its investment buck than most other companies do, in terms of sales increases.

The EU also ranked profitable companies whose R&D spending and sales both rose more than 200% since 2004. American tech companies swept the top five on that list: Apple came in at No. 4, behind Google, Oracle (ORCL) and Qualcomm (QCOM). Semiconductor maker Broadcom (BRCM) ranked No. 5 on that list.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the R&D spend values. In the original version of the story, theyfigures were not converted from euros to dollars.

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