Two tech powerhouses have edged Coke aside as the most valuable brands in the world, the first time in 13 years that the sugary beverage maker hasn't been on top. Apple is now the most valuable brand in the world, followed closely by Internet search giant Google.
The rating comes from Interbrand, which compiles a closely watched annual Best Global Brands report. Coke had been the most valuable brand in each report since the initial one in 2000.
"Few brands have enabled so many people to do so much so easily, which is why Apple has legions of adoring fans," Interbrand notes of the new number-one brand. "Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity, and ease of use that all other tech brands are now expected to match, and that Apple itself is expected to continually exceed."
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As for Google, the search engine firm is "a true leader of the technology age" and an "ever-present" brand.
Apple was aided by a 28 percent surge in value to $98.3 billion, Interbrand claims, compared with a similar 34 percent jump to $93.3 billion for Google. Coke, which dropped to number three, rose slightly to $79.2 billion in value.
Of the top 10 most valuable brands, fully half are tech companies. Microsoft is the fifth most valuable brand at $59.5 billion, Samsung is number eight, and Intel is number nine. (IBM, whose brand is worth $78.8 billion, is number four on the list, but is interestingly not considered a tech company.) Other companies in the top 10 include General Electric, McDonalds, and Toyota.
Of Microsoft, Interbrand notes that the erstwhile software giant "has made significant strides in streamlining and integrating its broad portfolio," although "the brand struggles as consumer demand evolves past traditional PCs ... As Microsoft continues to push on multiple fronts, the brand’s responsiveness to the sometimes conflicting needs of the PC ecosystem and the shifting mobile landscape will be critical for shaping its future."
In the tech loser's column, BlackBerry dropped off the list after falling to position 93 last year. And Nokia, soon to be a Microsoft acquisition, fell from 19th place to 57th, a drop of 65 percent, earning it the dubious honor of "biggest faller" on the list. Nokia's problem? Though "Windows Phone differentiated it from most other manufacturers ... [it] lacks relevance for consumers."