I’m an Android fanboy. You noticed? I just can’t resist the urge to knock holes in the brickwork of walled gardens, and short-circuit reality distortion fields. Not to mention losing trust over anti-trust convictions. So when I see news that Google has knocked Apple off the top slot in the Millward Brown BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, it makes me come over all warm and fuzzy.

According to Millward Brown’s own communication on the subject, “Google has overtaken Apple to become the world’s most valuable global brand in the 2014 BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand ranking, worth $159 billion, an increase of 40% year on year.” Apple, meanwhile, slid down to second place in the global brand hierarchy because, according to Millward Brown, “whilst Apple remains a top performing brand, there is a growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers, reflected by a lack of dramatic new product launches.”

So there you are: it’s official. Anyone who bought in to the Apple ecosystem for aspirational motives, for eagerness to latch on to the Number One, and for any other reason than the quality of the products had better start looking for a new bandwagon. Not that Apple doesn’t make (some) perfectly good devices. But all the ballyhoo? And the premium prices? And all the restrictions? And the lack of choice? Look, they’re not even pioneering compelling new product categories any more to justify all that.

To explain the methodology briefly, “the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, is now in its ninth year. It is the only ranking that uses the views of potential and current buyers of a brand, alongside financial data, to calculate brand value.”

Should Apple worry? Objectively, it ought not to. The Number Three and Four brands, IBM and Microsoft, have held their slots for years now, despite in IBM’s case at least being as unglamorous as it gets. But then it depends how much of Apple’s brand value has depended on Apple being seen as the unchallenged Number One. If that’s really the case, then it could be that the rot has set in at Apple.


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