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Microsoft breathes down Coca-Cola's neck

The software giant is closing in on the soda bohemoth's turf as the most valuable brand name in the world.

Software giant Microsoft is closing in on Coca-Cola's turf as the most valuable brand name.

Even in the midst of government scrutiny, Microsoft increased its brand value by nearly 24 percent over the 12 months leading up to June 1, according to an annual survey conducted by brand consulting company Interbrand.

With a brand value of $70.2 billion, Microsoft is trailing a close second behind top-ranked Coca-Cola, which has a brand value of $72.2 billion. However, the study found that Coca-Cola, which held the top spot for a second straight year, saw its brand value slip by 13 percent from the previous year.

Interbrand said its annual survey, which was conducted in conjunction with Citibank, identifies and ranks the top global brands valued at $1 billion or more. A total of 75 brands qualified for the ranking this year. The survey measures brand value by examining market capitalization, revenues and other performance indicators.

The study indicates Microsoft's continued strength at a time when investors have grown wary of many high-tech companies.

New York-based Interbrand found that the technology sector created the most brand value in the past 12 months, with some heavyweights leading the way.

Trailing Microsoft, computing giant IBM grabbed third place. Chipmaker Intel and cell phone provider Nokia dominated the tail end of the top five.

The technology industry was the biggest brand-value builder in the past 12 months, according to the study. Meanwhile, Internet brands showed the highest growth rates led by giants Yahoo and, with 258 percent and 233 percent growth in brand value from the previous year, respectively.

Other consumer companies, such as General Electric, Ford and McDonald's, rounded out the top 10.

The survey noted that U.S.-based companies accounted for the majority of the most valuable global brands, with 42 of the top 75 on the list.

Later today, Microsoft is slated to report fourth-quarter earnings. Microsoft is expected to report earnings of $2.4 billion, or 42 cents a share, on revenue of $5.8 billion for the quarter, according to analysts polled by First Call.