Apple is 14th fastest-growing tech company

February 6, 2009, 2:57 PM UTC

Lists of the fastest-growing companies tend to be dominated by smaller firms. That makes sense; it’s a lot easier for a $30 million dollar enterprise to double in size than a $30 billion one.

Which makes it all the more surprising to find Apple (AAPL) appearing for the first time in Forbes‘ ranking of America’s 25 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies — especially given the pummeling its shares have undergone over the past year (from nearly $200 a share in Dec. ’07 to less than $100 today).

But there Apple is, at the No. 14 spot, the largest company on the list — a Gulliver among Lilliputians — with sales of $33 billion, yet still growing at an annualized rate of 40% a year over the past five years.

“It is growing more like a technology start-up than a big company,” writes John J. Ray in an accompanying article. (link)

Apple is 60 times bigger than No. 1 on the list, biotech tool-maker Illumina (ILMN), and nearly 500 times bigger than No. 5, semiconductor designer Techwell (TWLL).

The only company of comparable size among the top 25 is — you guessed it — Google (GOOG), No. 2 with sales of $21.8 billion and growing at the rate of 72% a year.

For the full list, click here.