Google No. 1, Microsoft 16th in Reputation Survey
Google tops the list of the most reputable companies in the United States, according to a survey compiled by market researcher Harris Interactive.
Harris used a ranking system to compile its latest "Annual RQ Summary Report," which is based on responses from more than 30,000 survey participants. Respondents were asked to list the 60 "most visible" U.S. companies. Next, they were asked to rate the reputation of each company according to 20 attributes, forming what Harris calls the "reputation quotient" (RQ) for each company. Companies were then ranked by RQ score.
Google achieved its No. 1 position in the 2011 survey with an RQ of 84.05 (an RQ score above 80 is considered "excellent"). Survey respondents gave Google high marks in the categories of Social Responsibility, Products and Services, Vision and Leadership, Financial Performance, and Workplace Environment. The company advanced its position compared with last year's survey, when it achieved a No. 3 ranking.
Other technology companies to place in the top 10 are Apple (No. 5), Intel (No. 6) and Amazon.com (No. 8).
Notably missing from the top 10 was Microsoft. The company was ranked No. 7 in 2010, but fell to No. 16 in this year's survey. However, Microsoft's 2011 RQ of 80.16 is slightly improved from its 2010 RQ of 79.83.
Survey respondents did list Microsoft as among the top 10 companies they would "definitely" invest in at some point. Microsoft's corporate communications also rated well, with 41 percent of respondents giving Microsoft positive ratings in "transparency," and 59 percent giving it positive ratings in "consistency."
Microsoft also has the distinction of being one of only nine companies on the list to have scored an RQ of 75 or higher for each of the past 10 years, according to Harris.
Technology companies appearing lower on the list are Facebook (No. 31) and Dell (No. 37). Overall, however, technology companies fared well in the Harris survey, with a combined 75 percent of respondents rating tech companies' reputations as "positive." In comparison, the next-closest sector, retail, earned a "positive" rating from only 57 percent of respondents.
Below are the technology companies listed in this year's Harris report and their RQs:
The 2011 "RQ Summary Report" is available for download here (registration required).