apple hq

A report surfaced last week claiming that Apple’s Board of Directors are worried about the company’s ability to innovate, and they’ve spoken with Tim Cook about it. The concern follows a near year-long stretch without any major product announcements.

And apparently, the folks over at Forbes agree with them, because Apple has dropped way down on their infamous list of ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies.’ The iPad-maker, which once sat as high as number 5, now comes in at the lowly number 79 spot…

ComputerWorld points to the list, published by Forbes this week, which uses a complex algorithm to rank companies by something called an “innovation premium”—the difference between market cap and net present value of cash flows from existing businesses.

“Think of [the innovation premium] as the investor expectations built into the stock price,” explained Bruce Upbin, managing editor of Forbes, in an interview today. “Apple’s ranking dropped because of what happened to the stock [price] in the last year. Its ranking is a proxy of what investors think of the future of the company.”

So Forbes obviously has a different opinion of what constitutes as ‘innovation.’ Google, for example has also fallen quite a bit from its No. 7 spot in 2011, to No. 47. And I mean, this is the same company that is making computerized glasses and Internet balloons.

“It’s not necessarily true that Google’s innovation has slowed down,” said Upbin, “but maybe investors think that driver-less cars won’t pay off like search has.”

But that certainly doesn’t mean Apple gets graded on a curve. It’s going to have to really impress investors this fall and convince them that they have the ability to produce hit products and achieve the big growth if it wants to quiet the innovation concerns.

For what it’s worth, the companies who topped Forbes’ most ‘innovative’ list include Salesforce.com, ARM, Baidu, and Amazon, who came in at number 7.

Where do you think Apple stands on the list of most innovative companies in the world?