Global CIO: Is IBM Or Apple The World's #1 Tech Brand? - InformationWeek

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Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
9/16/2010
09:33 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: Is IBM Or Apple The World's #1 Tech Brand?

A list of Top 100 global brands includes six tech firms in the top 10, but I think some glue-sniffers must have been behind the ranking given to Apple.

If anyone thinks IT is a boring business, I hope that person will explain this: a global ranking of the Top 100 "best" brands in the world puts Coca-Cola at the top but tech companies swarm six of the remaining nine spots in the top 10.

While CIOs probably don't make strategic buying decisions based on brand image, it would be naive to think that nowhere in the deep due-diligence processes is there any weight given—formally or informally—to an IT vendor's cachet, its buzz, and its ability to help position customers as forward-looking thought leaders.

So I wanted to offer some findings about 16 tech companies from Interbrand's Top 100 global-brands study as an additional data point to add to your ongoing scrutiny of IT suppliers. But I've got to note that I find it utterly inexplicable that this list ranked Apple—with its fanatical customers, its market-shaking technologies and business models, its superbly elegant design, and its global reach and passionate fan base—as #17 on the list.

That placed it behind—way behind—Intel, Nokia, HP, and Cisco, all fine companies to be sure but hardly perceived as iconic global brands in the way that Apple is. Other than that bit of lunacy, the list seems quite logical and insightful.

Here's what I've included for each company: its rank in the Interbrand 100, its "brand value" in dollars from that ranking, its market cap from my own research, and an excerpt from the Top 100 thumbnail for each company.

Interbrand's "brand value" dollar figures are a mystery to me, which is why I've inserted good old-fashioned market-caps next to each. And for those of you keeping score at home, here's how Interbrand says it comes up with that "brand value" figure: "Three key aspects contribute to a brand's value; the financial performance of the branded products or services, the role of brand in the purchase decision process and the strength of the brand to continue to secure earnings for the company."

#2 IBM Brand value: $64.73 billion. Market cap: $163.3 billion. "Its focus on emerging economies allows the company to tap into double-digit growth by providing the infrastructure its clients require. This year, IBM displayed its innovation through a host of social media initiatives . . . . IBM also leads its category when it comes to corporate citizenship."

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#3 Microsoft Brand value: $60.9 billion. Market cap: $218.45 billion. "With the global recession, Microsoft saw its first drop in annual revenue – a three percent decrease from US $60.4 billion in fiscal 2008 to US $58.4 billion in fiscal 2009. . . . In recent years, Microsoft has spent more time creating defensive products rather than innovating – for example, launches of the Xbox to compete with Sony Playstation, Bing to compete with Google, the quickly abandoned Windows Kin Phone to compete with Apple iPhone, Windows 7 to compete with Linux, and updated other software such as Visual Studio, Microsoft Office and Microsoft DirectX."

Next is Google:

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