Tech's most interesting companies

We list the tech firms we think are the most interesting and innovative in the sector - Apple, Google and yes, even Microsoft.

What is the most innovative, interesting company in the tech world?

There are many contenders for such a crown, and with so much diversity between consumer and business, software and hardware, server and desktop and mobile, it'd be near impossible to choose one across IT.

Indeed, the firm which first pops into your mind as the best in tech will reflect your own interests, be they web or gadgets or even gaming. And it may even reflect your philosophy are open source or proprietary firms driving the most innovation? It could simply come down to brand loyalty Apple, anyone?

Alongside journalists from Bit-Tech, Know Your Mobile, and PC Pro, we've come up with our list of tech firms that most draw our interest. Some won't surprise you and some might even anger you is your favourite firm on the list? Let us know at comments@itpro.co.uk.

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AMD

It's easy to deride AMD as the Keystone Kops of technology, constantly bumbling into scrapes while Intel strolls away with the swag yet again. But remember, the Phenom combined a quad-core die with a direct RAM bus a year and a half before the Core i7. Triple-core CPUs? Sneer if you like, but they outpace comparably-priced Core 2 Duos with a core to spare.

And, after 18 months in Nvidia's shadow, the ATI team too are now stomping their rival with a knockout GPU. Sure, the company makes its share of stupid decisions maybe more than its share. But it scores some bullseyes as well; and you have to admit, without AMD the industry would be a lot duller. (Darien Graham-Smith, PC Pro)

Apple

No company has had as much influence on technology as Apple. In the early 80s it popularised the personal computer with the Apple I and II, and then latter revolutionised the industry with the first commercial computer with a GUI - the Lisa, followed by the much more successful Apple Macintosh.

In the late 90s, Apple once again began a tidal wave of invention and influence that continues to this day with a unique ability to marry form and function. The transparent and floppyless iMac again changed the perception of the computer, the iPod completely transformed the music business and the iPhone is doing the same for telecommunications. (Benny Har-Even, IT PRO)

Asus

Two years ago, Asus changed the tech world with its Eee PC. The light and lovely and very cheap device sparked a trend and the new netbook subcategory. Nearly every PC-maker has followed up with a version of its own and the genre the only thing keeping the PC market afloat.

Asus has updated the device several times, adding a desktop version and even a touchscreen model to the lineup. The firm is now set to release a Skype phone and is eyeing what it can do with Android. Google, VoIP, touchscreen yes, it's ticking off all the hot tech trends, and while not all of its adventures create great gadgets, it's trying new things and taking risks and that's where innovations like the Eee PC come from.

And the next one seems to be the rather cool looking Fold/Unfold laptop. The touchscreen, ultra-light laptop can communicate with other Fold/Unfolds just by touching. All very shiny, but most interestingly, the Fold is taking on Apple's MacBook Air. While Asus may never be the high-end laptop of choice, it's giving the Mac-maker enough of a challenge to keep it on its toes. (Nicole Kobie, IT PRO)

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