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Steve Jobs believed that innovation was fostered by hiring the right people and not by how many R&D dollars the company had. He made comparisons between Apple and IBM, when the original Mac came out IBM was spending a lot more on R&D, but the Mac held its ground firmly because it was a good product. Apple is certainly living by that motto, hiring the right people, but the right people don’t work for free. In fact Apple employs four of the top five best paid executives in the entire country.

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Bob Mansfield, Bruce Sewell, Jeffrey Willams and Peter Oppenheimer are the four top earners at Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, this list has been made on the fiscal 2012 compensation figures for about 80% of S&P 500 companies. The compensation that Apple doles out for these four executives is largely in stock, thus surging their net worth on paper. Bob Mansfield is at the top of this list, he’s Senior Vice President of Technologies, and had a base salary of US$805,400 in 2012 while being awarded US$85.5 million in stock options. The only other American executive that earned more than these four Apple employees is Larry Ellison, of Oracle fame, who was also a close friend of Steve Jobs. He pulled in US$96.2 million in 2012.

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