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Apple Loses Crown as World's Most Valuable Brand to Google

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After three years at the top this list, Apple is dethroned by Google.

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In the tech world's game of thrones, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) can officially be called Kingslayer. Having usurped Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world's most valuable brand, Mountain View claims the top spot from a company few thought would ever see a decline.
 
With nearly a $159 billion valuation for this year, Google was deemed as having the most coveted brand valuation by research outfit Millward Brown. Jumping from the Number Two slot in 2013, Google's brand value climbed an impressive 40% to reach the top.
 
But things aren't as sleek and shiny over at Apple, whose brand value dropped 20%, causing it to fall to second place on the annual ranking after three years at the top. Although a brand valued at $147.8 billion is obviously nothing to sneeze at, Apple's seemingly do-no-wrong image has been tarnished in recent years after the company failed to introduce exciting new product lines and opted instead for incremental updates to its mobile lines -- many of which had been introduced long ago by its competitors.
 
Oscar Yuan, vice president at Millward Brown, explained to Forbes the reasoning behind the company's decision to swap Google and Apple for the top-two slots.
 
"It's a story about two hugely successful technology companies," Yuan said. "Apple's been known for earth-shattering, category-creating, revolutionary products. And I would say, just recently, Apple's innovations have been more evolutionary than revolutionary. I think that may have played a little bit in the drop from first to second."
 
Indeed, analysts and consumers have noticed an "innovation shift" between Mountain View and Cupertino as Google has been responsible for a flurry of new products and services that often outshine Apple's offerings -- even on its home turf. (See: Google Has Destroyed Apple's Walled Garden From Within.) Google's constant polishing of services like Google Now, Google Maps, Gmail, and its omnipresent Search -- not to mention its scene-stealing Chromecast and the exponential growth of the Android platform -- has cast a shadow over Apple's unimpressive updates to iOS, its hardware, and its app lineup.
 
"Google has been doing just the opposite -- they've been organizing the world's information and putting it at your fingertips," Yuan said. "Even to things as aggressive as GoogleX -- they are making Wi-Fi available globally by putting satellites tied to balloons over the earth. [That kind of innovation] does enormous things for the brand -- it's seen as a making-dreams-come-true-type company, and that certainly helps their brand value."
 
He added that with products like Google Glass and the much-anticipated release of the Android Wear platform, "Google continues to deliver on bringing to consumers and the business world things they've never seen before and things they've never imagined were possible. That shows in their brand value."
 
Unfortunately, Apple's brand image under the leadership of Tim Cook has been taking a beating from those still waiting for a new product as groundbreaking as the iPhone. But with the iWatch and Apple HDTV still considered vaporware, and a mobile line trailing Android in now-essential features and specs, it appears that Apple has some catching up to do.

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