Apple has been declared "Marketer of the Year 2006" by US marketing magazine, Marketing Daily

"Combine innovative, consumer-friendly technology with sleek design. Add impeccably crafted, integrated branding and marketing strategies," the magazine explains.

The report continues to praise Apple's track record for innovation, sustained iPod sales, the company's fast-growing bevy of retail stores and continued products and initiatives - all of which have boosted sales and share prices.

Mac and iPod sales are up, and the company now holds 6.1 per cent of the US PC market, the report explains, putting it just behind the third-biggest PC seller, Gateway.

Apple's series of amusing "Get a Mac" ads also come in for praise. Marketing strategist Jack Trout observes: "The PC guy versus the Mac guy campaign demonstrates once again that Apple is the best youth marketer in the business today."

Marketing Today praises the ads for attempting to appeal to a newly-emerging PC market to underline the message that users can "do more with a Mac".

"Apple controls not just the music player, but a growing number of other critical end points," Jupiter Research's analyst Michael Gartenberg points out. "It all adds up to a long-term threat for Microsoft."