Apple dethroned by Google as world's most valuable brand

Apple's brand value fell by 20 percent, according to a survey by Millward Brown research company.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

The most valuable man in the world. TED 2014/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

They'll be spitting white rage in Cupertino tonight.

Why? Because Google has been declared the most valuable brand in the world. Which means Apple is no longer.

Research company Millward Brown has decided that this is true. And when a research company decides, you can't really argue.

Indeed, looking at the research results, the evidence is quite painful. Apple's brand value has diminished by 20 percent to a mere $148 billion. Meanwhile, Google's has soared by a fulsome 40 percent to $159 billion.

How much closer Apple would have been if it had persuaded a jury to force Samsung to donate $2.2 billion to Apple's coffers for alleged copying of its patents.

Millward Brown's Global BrandZ (there's nothing like research that has its own brand called BrandSomething) director Peter Walshe explained Google's soaring presence to the Telegraph: "To gain more of our mind-space brands such as Google are making ambitious plays across existing category boundaries."

Yes, Google has self-driving cars, balloons and quite frightening glasses. Apple has, well, phones and tablets and PCs. We've been there and done those.

Technology as a whole continues to perform very well in such estimations.

Maintaining its third place was IBM. And fourth was Microsoft. AT&T was eighth, two places above Amazon, which still has to smoke its way past Marlboro.

Perhaps the most surprising presence was Chinese Web portal Tencent at Number 14. Facebook was 21st and Samsung 29th.

You might be wondering how Millward Brown calculates these various positions. Well, it uses a tool called Optimor. This, of course, is a proprietary tool whose ingredients are closely guarded. The data is allegedly culled from "150,000 interviews with consumers from around the world."

The company revealed in its Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Report that the value of the world's most important brands has increased by 12 percent.

Millward Brown believes that what is unique about its approach is "the recognition that in all markets a small number of consumers account for a large proportion of sales. Loyal consumers are more valuable to a brand than occasional users, a crucial factor when analyzing brand value."

Those who favor Google will clearly believe that the marauding bands of those wearing funny glasses are loyally proving just how far Google's brand value has soared. Even when they antagonize restaurant owners and get into fights in bars.

Those who favor Apple will be perplexed because, in their estimation, no other brand gets such hordes of loyal, if demented, fans sleeping in the streets, waiting to buy the latest gadget, as Apple does.

Those who favor cynicism will note that Millward Brown is part of the WPP group, some of whose agencies work with Google.

You could, though, just think of it as another day in research, which always provides us with things to talk about.