Apple has beaten Google in the latest opinion poll of US brands conducted by Harris Interactive.

The company is seen as the most reputable brand in US business, moving up from fifth place in the same rankings from last year. Google, which took top spot in 2011, moved down one place to second.

The key to Apple's success, Harris Interactive said, is having a portfolio that covers multiple industries.

"We are seeing the emergence of a group of companies that garner reputation equity by being positively associated with multiple industries," said Robert Fronk, executive vice president and Global Corporate Reputation Practice Lead for Harris Interactive.

"Companies like Apple, Google, and combine innovation and leadership across multiple business areas, giving them true competitive advantage."

Apple achieved top five scores in all of the areas of reputation Harris Interactive ranks - Emotional Appeal, Products & Services, Workplace Environment, Financial Performance, Vision & Leadership and Social Responsibility.

Though Apple's esteem in at least four of those categories is unarguable, the ranking in the Social Responsibility category may raise an eyebrow or two given recent reports from the New York Times that cast a negative light on working conditions in Apple's supply chain.

However, Apple is taking positive steps to remedy this situation, yesterday announcing that it had asked the Fair Labor Association to begin special, voluntary inspections of its final assembly suppliers.