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Comparison of the Most Valuable Brands of 2014: How Google Overtook Apple at the No. 1 Spot

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Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell once described Steve Jobs’ perfectionism not as an inventor but a tweaker. “His gift lay in taking what was in front of him—the tablet with stylus—and ruthlessly refining it and comparing it against the best.” Jobs would be infamous for perfecting his iPhones and iPads and launching them to success. Years hence, the same perfectionism disease may be pulling Apple back.

Last year, Google overtook Apple as the number one most valuable brand after holding the top post for three consecutive years. In the latest infographic we compare the top 10 brands in 2014 by BrandZ (the same source used by Forbes). But let’s go beyond the list.

Industry observers believe Apple’s calculated process to churn out a perfect product slows down its progress. If they are to be believed, the race is to the swift and Google has been launching new and more innovative projects faster: Google Glass, Internet of Things, Google Maps, B2B directory and Google Music All Access are some of the exciting goings-on announced at the last I/O conference. Sure, Apple had its own releases last year, iPhone 5S and 5c, but the smartphone arena is getting a little boring making the whole customer relationship business tense. Apple needs some oranges.

Not that Google engineers work faster or are more innovative in comparison to Apple. The search giant has the habit of releasing beta versions and admitting to the public that, yes, they should expect glitches and imperfections; and since user collaboration is the future of business Google needs your feedback to perfect the product (they found the best excuse: crowdsourcing!). While Apple engineers slave away for months in their lab caves looking for the Holy Grail, Google engineers are already half drunk in cocktail events announcing their latest projects. That’s just a hypothetical situation, but you get the picture.

Sometimes we think Apple set a high standard for itself. Consumers and investors now expect no less than disruptive products in every Apple launch the way of iPod/iTunes, iPhone and iPad. When that doesn’t happen, people scratch their head in disappointment.

Bagging the top brand, after all, is perception mixed with actual value, much like how stocks rise and fall, and Google knows how to play this game. It can even spice up the tiniest change. Recently, Google reported on the evolutoin of its logo. The change is almost indiscernible involving kernings, a typeface jargon about character spacing; in Google’s case the l was aligned with the bottom of e by one pixel. Here’s a peek where you can see the difference courtesy of an eagle-eyed G+ user. Admittedly, I did google “kernings.”

Can Apple get its position back next year? Check out this infographic and learn more:



Louie Andre

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. From pitch deck to exit strategy, he is no stranger to project business hiccups and essentials. He has been involved in a few internet startups including a digital route planner for a triple A affiliate. His advice to vendors and users alike? "Think of benefits, not features."

Semaphore says:

Am an Apple user by force of habit. Still waiting for another religion to take me away from the cult of Mac. Granted that Google is a giant compared to Apple, I still love the Mac because of its intuitive interface and its usability for graphic design professionals like me. A lot of people say it's expensive but hey, it's virus free and you really get quality for the price.

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G Thomase says:

The Mac is a great machine, but virus free it is not. I have been using Mac since it came out in 1984, and made the change from traditional Graphic design to digital in 1986 with Aldus PageMaker and gladly added Photoshop and other tools as soon as they were released. I know Mac inside and out and I am a big fan, but I and other design firms like my own, have been hit by viruses every so often.

I also use PCs and Windows 7 (I do not like Win8 yet) and find that because of the versatility and the cost of the hardware, I am able to equip more staff with the latest technology in speed, power and graphics far cheaper and quicker than I can the Mac and that keeps me on the cutting edge always.

Mac is great, but I find the Windows interface just fine once you get used to it, and my staff (most of them Macintosh users) love the equipment. Besides, most of the best software (from 2d to 3d, audio and video) is the same, or similar on both machines, so the difference in hardware abd graphics output is the real difference for me.

As for Google, I am not into companies that do not care if the "little" changes they make in their search engine algorithms destroy companies. Many legitimate companies lost big time when Google last made a major change to their search engine. They did it without notice and companies lost. Google does not care for anyone or anything but their profit. I am not a fan.

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GoogleGogol says:

Google rules the world! I don't even think there's a comparison. As you said , Apple sticks mostly to mobile devices and cloud services. Even in the area of mobile, Apple is being beaten by more aggressive competitors. The iPhone is getting to be so boring (aside from the painfully small screen)...there's been no innovation since the death of Steve.

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