During a 1998 profile in Fortune, Steve Jobs stressed how true innovation requires hiring the right people.
Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led and how much you get it.
Of course, attracting, hiring and keeping the right people in the ultra-competitive world of Silicon Valley is no easy task. To that end, having a bank account that lingers in the US$137 billion range certainly helps.
That said, it may not be all that surprising that four of the top five highest paid executives in the US are Apple employees. BloombergBusinessweek reports that Apple executives Bob Mansfield, Bruce Sewell, Jeffrey Williams, and Peter Oppenheimer received more compensation than nearly every other executive in America.
Note, though, that the bulk of this compensation isn't in the form of cash, but rather in stock.
Leading the salary charge at Apple is Mansfield, who currently serves as the company's senior VP of Technologies. Mansfield in 2012 received $85.5 million worth of stock options on top of a base salary of $805,400.
Sewell, Apple's VP of Legal and Government Affairs, received a compensation package of $69 million in 2012, slightly ahead of Williams who received a compensation package of $68.7 million. Williams is currently Apple's senior VP of Operations, having taken on many of the responsibilities that Tim Cook previously took care of as Apple's former COO. And picking up the rear is Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer who received a compensation package of $68.6 million last year.
The only executive in the US that made more than the aforementioned Apple executives was Oracle's Larry Ellison who earned $96.2 million last year.