Tech companies challenge old-economy brands' value

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The Intelligence Factory may rank Virgin and Ikea as Europe's most admired brands, but another consultant finds that on a worldwide scale, Microsoft is poised to overtake Coca-Cola as the most valuable brand.

New York-based Interbrand said that despite negative media coverage surrounding the antitrust ruling against Microsoft Corp., its brand value increased 24% from last year to $70.2 billion. Coca-Cola Co.'s brand value, meanwhile, fell 13% to $72.5 billion, according to the survey.

The Interbrand report showcases the growing brand value of technology companies over old-economy stalwarts. Tech companies held down four of the top five spots in the survey, with IBM Corp., Intel Corp. and Nokia Corp. rounding out those positions. The tech industry as a whole showed the biggest increase in brand value in the past 12 months, with the majority of tech companies in the report showing double-digit value growth. Internet companies, including Yahoo! and Amazon.com, experienced the highest growth in the past year.

HOLD-OUTS

But old-economy behemoths are still forces, with General Electric Co. ranked No. 6 at $38.1 billion, Ford Motor Co. at No. 7 with $36.4 billion and McDonald's Corp. No. 9 with $27.8 billion.

From an international perspective, 42 of the 75 companies in the report are U.S.-based. However, U.S. companies lag in key sectors such as automotive and telecommunications -- Ford is the only U.S. carmaker to make the list (Mercedes-Benz is ranked No. 12 and Toyota Motor Corp. No. 15, for example), while Nokia beat out AT&T, which ranked No. 10.

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