Yesterday, a respected study came out naming Google the most valuable brand in the world. The brand itself is worth $100 billion, say the good people at Millward Brown Optimor.
Microsoft came in at #2 at a value of $76B, and Apple was #6 at $63B. It's an interesting report at this moment because Google and Microsoft have just effectively declared war on each other.
Google has announced that it will launch a new operating system to compete with Windows, and has pushed its answer to MS Office, Google Apps, not only out of beta, but into high-profile, direct competition with Microsoft via a massive marketing campaign (this, btw, from a company that doesn't supposedly market). Microsoft, on the other hand has launched a new search engine, Bing.com, which will also power search for Yahoo. And Microsoft is pushing a version of office out into the cloud.
Meanwhile, while Apple could typically be expected to remain aloof as the BMW (the #2 auto brand, behind Toyota) of computer producers, but now (probably at AT&T's behest) it has tossed Google Voice's app out of its App Store for the iPhone.
Which brings us to the government. The government, which used to like to pick on Microsoft for anti-trust violations, is considering turning its gaze upon Google. Similarly, the FCC has decided that the best way to assert its right to regulate the internet might just be to make a brouhaha out of the Google Voice/App Store debacle.
It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Apple and Microsoft have been around a long time. They've fought a few tech wars and lived to tell the tale. They've been blooded. But Google seems to have the most momentum — the company is barely more than ten years old and it's got the most valuable brand in the world. They've got a fun campus, free lunch and lava lamps. They've got an innovative entreprenurial culture where Microsoft seems to have a culture specifically designed to make things suck.
But, it's very possible that Google has the most valuable brand in the world because it's only been around ten years. It hasn't had time for its problems to stick. It's customer service is notoriously awful, it's products are no more universally reliable than Microsoft's, at least in my experience, and the corporation whose motto is "don't be evil" has been remarkably happy to help the Chinese government censor the internet.
Like I said, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. 'Till Skynet takes over, of course.