Apple has reclaimed its position as the world’s most valuable brand after growing a staggering 67% to knock Google off the top spot of Millward Brown’s BrandZ ranking.

With a brand value of $247bn, the tech giant is the first business to surpass the $200bn mark, storming ahead of Google, which falls back into second place with a value of $174bn having grown by just 9% in comparison.

Apple has had a phenomenal year with profits up by 33% in the first three months of 2015 leading to the company’s “best March quarter results ever” according to CEO Tim Cook. The business recorded a 40% year-on-year increase in iPhone unit sales, which totalled 61 million during the quarter. It follows a record-breaking start to the 2015 financial year too, during which interest in the newly-launched iPhone 6 and 6 Plus led to a 116% rise in revenue compared to the previous quarter.

In the 10th year of the BrandZ ranking, the study also reveals that Apple is the highest riser over the past decade, growing an incredible 1,446% and climbing 28 places since 2006.

After a six-year hiatus Microsoft has bounced back into the top three and for the first time passes the $100bn barrier, rising 28% to generate a brand value of $116bn.

The rise sees it overtake IBM for the first time since 2009 and is an indication that the brand’s transformation strategy under new CEO Satya Nadella is paying off.

“Microsoft is continuing to transform, executing against our strategic priorities and extending our cloud leadership,” he said in a recent trading statement. “We are taking bold steps forward across our business, and specifically with Windows 10, to deliver new experiences, new categories, and new opportunities to our customers.”

IBM meanwhile drops back into fourth place after a 13% decline from 2014, owing to high investment costs in cloud technology hitting its financial performance.

With the top four brands all from the technology sector it’s no surprise that it is the joint-fastest growing category overall, up 24% on last year. Retail is level on growth rate, but only because Chinese ecommerce brand Alibaba has been included in the list for the first time, and vastly outperforms the rest of the category.

Strong performances from tech and retail have led to the combined value of the top 100 brands rising 14% to $3.3trn, the fastest growth rate since the recession.


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