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Apple again was named the most-innovative company. For the ninth year in a row, the iPhone maker topped a survey of senior executives polled Boston Consulting Group.

South Korea-based rival Samsung was No. 2 and Android’s Google was listed as No. 3. Microsoft and automaker Toyota rounded out the top five…

“But measuring innovation remains difficult, and BCG doesn’t ask survey respondents to explain exactly how they’re defining it,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“The bar is continuing to rise for what it means to be a world-class innovator,” says Andrew Taylor, a BCG partner. The survey polled 1,500 senior executives for the most-innovative companies outside their industry.

Three-year stock performance, revenue and margin gains were also considered.

Other tech firms making the top 20 list of innovative companies include IBM (No. 6), Amazon (No. 7), Sony (No. 11), Facebook (No. 12) and HP at No. 16.

Of course, this isn’t the first time this year Apple has been crowned as innovative. Earlier, Apple was listed in 79th place by Forbes, a drop from previous years. However, Apple increased in standings among the Fortune 500.

By proxy, Apple’s latest iPhones and new operating system have shined prestige upon the company that until recently some felt had lost its mojo. First, Apple announced selling 9 million new iPhones during the first weekend the handsets were available.

Then iOS 7, controversial for its flat redesign, was named the most user-friendly mobile operating system, as well as lightening fast adoption rates.

Turns out, defining “most-innovative” may be easier than first thought.