Apple has emerged as the most valuable brand in the world, passing Coca-Cola which held the top position for 13 years, according to a report released by brand consultancy Interbrand.
The maker of high-profile products like the iPad and iPhone, which was ranked second last year, saw its brand value grow 28 percent this year to US$98.3 billion. Other tech companies that figured in the top five rankings for 2013 were Google at number two and IBM and Microsoft at fourth and fifth place, respectively. Google was number four in 2012, while IBM was third and Microsoft held the fifth position last year.
"Few brands have enabled so many people to do so much so easily, which is why Apple has legions of adoring fans," Interbrand said in the report. Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity and ease of use that other tech brands have to match, and Apple itself will have to continually exceed, the report said.
Competitor Samsung Electronics, at number eight, saw its brand value go up 20 percent to $39.6 billion, as the brand continues to strengthen its position globally, spending more than $4 billion in marketing last year, and launching innovative products such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note II, according to the Interbrand report.
The challenge for Apple is to slow "Samsung's momentum and capture the booming Chinese mobile market." As significantly, the world is awaiting another innovative product from Apple, which could be perhaps the iWatch wearable computer or something completely unexpected, Interbrand said. The company's reputation has, meanwhile, taken some hits after it was found guilty of conspiring with five large book publishers to fix e-book prices, and faced allegations about worker conditions in China at its supplier Foxconn, and ongoing patent disputes with Samsung.
The going is getting tougher for Apple, which reported that revenue was flat at about $35.3 billion in its fiscal third quarter ended June 29, while net profit dipped to $6.9 billion from $8.8 billion in the same quarter last year. Its smartphone market share dropped in the second quarter to its lowest level in three years of 13.6 percent compared to Samsung's over 33 percent, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Apple was, however, ahead of Samsung in tablets in the second quarter of 2013, with a 32 percent share of the market to Samsung's 18 percent, according to IDC.
Interbrand's rankings, first introduced in 2000, covers global brands that have at least 30 percent of their revenues from outside the brand's home region. The brands must also have a presence in at least three major continents, and broad geographic coverage in emerging markets.