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Google tops Microsoft, Apple in brand power

Annual rankings by market researcher find that the search giant's brand has grown in value to more than $86 billion.

It seems Google has solidified its dethroning of Microsoft in at least one regard: the global power of its brand.

For the third year in a row, the search giant whose very name has been transformed into a verb, grabbed the top spot in a list of the top 100 most powerful global brands (PDF). Its brand value grew 30 percent since last year's report to surpass $86 billion.

Brand powerhouses
Rank Brand Value ($B)
1 Google 86.1
2 GE 71.4
3 Microsoft 70.9
4 Coca-Cola 58.2
5 China Mobile 57.2
6 IBM 55.3
7 Apple 55.2
8 McDonald's 49.5
9 Nokia 44.0
10 Marlboro 37.3
Source: Millward Brown Optimor

Market research firm Millward Brown Optimor produced the rankings based on interviews with more than a million consumers worldwide, as well as on financial data. The results show that "strong brands continue to outperform weak ones in terms of market share and share price during recessions," Millward Brown Optimor CEO Joanna Seddon said in a statement.

Microsoft, for the record, once again came in third, with a $70.9 billion brand value. (General Electric once again took second place, at $71.4 billion.)

Apple and Nokia crept up in the rankings this year, breaking into the top 10 companies from 16th and 12th place, respectively, last year. (As a result, they bumped Wal-Mart and Toyota out of the top 10.) IBM and China Mobile also were among the top 10 again.

Of the top 100 most powerful brands, 28 of them were technology related, including Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Intel, Dell, and BlackBerry (as opposed to its parent company, RIM).