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Apple's U Village store in Seattle
Apple’s U Village store in Seattle

In what now has become legend, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs recruited PepsiCo exec John Sculley to the helm of the computer maker in the 1980s with the classic line: “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Sculley took the job, though the partnership between him and Jobs frayed, sending Apple into a tailspin. But Apple has recovered and today, according to the annual Interbrand Best Global Brands report, Apple now maintains the world most powerful brand with an estimated value of $98.3 billion.

So, as it turns out, computers are more important than soda pop. (Incidentally, Sculley’s old employer Pepsi, which ranks No. 22 on the list, shows a brand value of $17.8 billion).

Apple’s ascension has been impressive. When the list debuted in 2000, Apple’s brand value stood at $6.6 billion and it ranked 36th on the list.

Google is also on the rise, jumping to the No. 2 spot with a value of $93.2 billion.

Jeff Bezos. Amazon photo

Coca-Cola, which had held the No. 1 spot for 13 years, fell to third place. Microsoft maintained its No. 5 ranking, while continues its surge with a brand value of $23.6 billion. (It now ranks 19th, up from the 20th spot last year). Yahoo and BlackBerry fell off the list, while Nokia — whose smartphone business is being acquired by Microsoft for $7.2 billion — showed the biggest brand decline in the history of the report by falling 65 percent to No. 57 on the list. Nintendo (#67, brand value of $6 billion)and Dell (#61, brand value of $6.8 billion) also showed double digit percentage brand declines.

The dominance of technology shows throughout the list, with eight of the top 20 labeled as technology companies. Interestingly, — which revolutionized online retail, makes the Kindle tablet and is the leader in cloud computing — is listed as a retailer. (We’d dispute that classification).

Here’s what the Interbrand report says about Apple:

Despite having its reputation tarnished by patent spats with Samsung and the Foxconn labor conditions scandal, the Apple brand proved to be resilient and emerged as not only the leader in this year’s Best Global Brands report, but also a top riser. In addition to being resilient, Apple is also prescient – continually anticipating what consumers will want next. To maintain its #1 position over the next year, Apple will have to slow rival Samsung’s momentum in the mobile market and never lose sight of what it does best: “Think different.”

And here’s the description of

With a brand value increase of 27 percent, Amazon is a top riser in this year’s Best Global Brands report. The e-commerce innovator continues to differentiate itself from rivals by taking on initiatives such as Amazon Appstore, which provides a comprehensive mobile experience for Google Android devices. Amazon has also expanded into new businesses such as TV-set-top boxes, original programming, 3-D smartphones, the Kindle line of e-book readers, and same-day grocery delivery service. Such initiatives, if successful, could mean Amazon will play an even greater and more holistic role in its consumers’ future retail experiences.

Here’s a look at the top 10:


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