Apple has topped Google as the most valuable brand in the world, according to a study released over the weekend by brand consultancy Millward Brown.
The maker of high-profile products like the iPad and iPhone moved up from third place in 2010 to to the number one position in 2011 as its brand value grew from US$83 billion to $153 billion, according to the study.
Google saw its brand value drop in 2011 by 2 percent to $111.5 billion. It had held the number one position for the last four years.
Apple and Google have different business models, with Google focused on free services and open systems, while Apple eschews the open model in favor of what it calls the "integrated model", Nigel Hollis, executive vice president and chief global analyst at Millward Brown, said in a blog post on the company's website.
"One thing is for sure, the integrated approach does help Apple maintain the consistency so important to a strong brand," Hollis said.
Whether it is a Mac, iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the design and interface of Apple products is familiar and easy to use, he added.
The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking is based on both quantitative consumer research and financial analysis. Brands are ranked and their performances analyzed in 13 product sectors such as apparel, beer, technology and telecommunications services.
Of the top 10 brands in the ranking, six were technology and telecommunications companies. Alongside Apple and Google were IBM at number three, Microsoft at number five, AT&T at number seven, and China Mobile at number nine.
With a 246 percent increase in brand value, social networking site Facebook entered the BrandZ Top 100 for the first time at number 35. Clicks outstripped brick-and-mortar as online retailer Amazon crossed Walmart as the more valuable brand, according to the study.