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Top Brands: Microsoft Stays at 5, Apple Ousts Coke for Top Spot

Despite turmoil in Redmond this year, Microsoft held on as the fifth most popular brand in Interbrand's Best Global Brands, released today. Microsoft's key rivals Apple and Google jumped in rank taking the number 1 and 2 spots respectively.

By becoming the leading brand, Apple ousted Coca Cola, which had topped the charts every year since Interbrand launched the survey 14 years ago. While the ascent of both Apple and Google is hardly surprising, Microsoft's ability to hold on to its spot as number 5 is a feat, considering a weak reception for Windows 8 and its Surface tablets, both released last year.

But Nokia, whose key assets Microsoft is acquiring for $7.2 billion, didn't fare as well. Nokia dropped from 17 last year to 57 -- an overall decline in brand value of 65 percent. After the deal closes of course, Nokia will continue to exist as a company that will retain patents and its telecommunications infrastructure business.

The good news for Microsoft is that its brand equity remains strong in spite of many who question the company's relevance in the post-PC era. IBM's slipped a point, while Apple and Google hold the top brands. Also on the rise, and a considerable threat to Microsoft is Amazon.com, which has a thriving cloud business and remains an aggressive contender in the tablet business.

In case you're wondering, Ford's brand equity increased 15 percent, moving from 45 to 42 percent. That's relevant only if Microsoft ultimately selects Ford CEO Alan Mulally to replace Steve Ballmer. As reported last week, Mulally is said to be a top contender for the job.

Brands are a critical factor to any company's success. Redmond magazine's reader survey this summer showed the jury is still out on Microsoft, though over 90 percent said they plan to spend the same or more with Microsoft in the coming year.

Microsoft will need all the brand equity it can get as it tries to convince customers to give its next generation of Windows software and devices, as well as cloud services, a chance.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/30/2013 at 3:10 PM


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