Apple Computer has seized the top spot in a Business Week list of the 50 top-performing companies.

The report states: "All those little white earbuds are a bona fide cultural phenomenon and serious business for Apple.

"Apple shows few signs of slowing down. Of the 42 million iPods sold since the line was introduced five years ago, 32 million were sold in 2005, including 14 million in a killer Christmas quarter," the report observes.

The report describes the company as a "Wall Street darling that has the early lead in the race to define the world's digital media future."

"If Apple can extend its portable music dominance into the living room, its remarkable recovery might have far to run," it adds.

Business Week also reminds industry watchers that Apple has more cards in its stack than just the iPod – the Mac remains a 39 per cent share of the overall business it states, quoting Needham & Co analyst Charles Wolf.

"The Mac will be increasingly important to Apple's growth in the last years of the decade," the analyst says.

Each additional percentage point of PC market share gained equates to $750 million in sales, it points out.

"If Apple manages to maintain the kind of stellar performance it delivered in 2005, the Mac will be a major reason why," the report concludes.