Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has surpassed Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world’s most valuable brand, according to market research firm Millward Brown’s annual Brandz Global Top 100 Most Valuable Brand report. The study, which was commissioned by multinational advertising company WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY), dropped Apple to the No. 2 spot this year. The iPhone maker has held the No. 1 spot on the list for the past three years in a row, while Google previously held the No. 1 spot from 2007 to 2010.
According to Millward Brown’s study, Google achieved the greatest brand value increase of any company in 2014, rising 40 percent to nearly $159 billion, while Apple’s brand value slipped by 20 percent to less than $148 billion. The technology category was one of the most valuable market segments when it came to brands, accounting for almost 30 percent of the total value of brands ranked in Brandz Global Top 100 report. Overall, the value of brands in the technology category rose 16 percent over last year. IBM (NYSE:IBM) took the third overall spot with a brand value of $107.5 billion, while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) took fourth place with a brand value estimated at $90 billion. McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) was the only non-tech company to crack the top five rankings with a brand value of $85.7 billion.
The report cited Google’s “culture of innovation” as one of the primary reasons for its increase in brand value. Besides market driven projects like Google Glass and the Android Wear Operating System, Millward Brown’s report noted Google’s “long-term initiatives” such as “research into artificial intelligence, slowing aging, improving car safety, and redesigning cities with driverless cars.”