updated 01:36 am EDT, Wed March 19, 2014
Google a distant second in brand value, separate of market cap
In a report released on Tuesday, Brand Finance compiled a list of 500 US "billion-dollar brands" and found Apple to be at the top of the pyramid, with a brand name worth an estimated $104.6 billion -- far ahead of any rivals. The value of the brand name, which is a separate valuation from things like "market cap" or total asset value, is estimated by calculating the royalty rate one would need to license the brand, along with expected future revenue.
Apple's total was far ahead of second-place finisher Google, estimated to be worth $68.6 in terms of brand value. Microsoft came in third at $62.8 billion brand value, followed by Verizon ($53.5B), with GE in fifth at $45.4 billion (Samsung, incidentally, came in at $78.6 billion in value). According to AppleInsider, tech companies accounted for 23 percent of the 500 billion-dollar brands. Silicon Valley alone is home to seven of the top 50 companies, including Apple, HP, Oracle, Intel, Cisco, eBay, Facebook, PayPal and Yahoo -- thus giving California the top-ranked state honor by brand value.
The total brand value estimate for Apple, at $105 billion, makes the name more valuable than the entire cost of NASA's Apollo Space Program of the 60s and 70s, even adjusted to today's dollars. Brand Finance says that 72 percent of a business' value in the US is made up of "intangible assets" like brand names. All US "billion-dollar brands" put together would equal $2.5 trillion in value, a figure higher than the entire gross national product of the United Kingdom. The total value of all brands in the US was estimated to be $17.9 trillion.
In addition to having the most valuable brand name in the US, Apple is also (still) the world's most-valuable publicly-traded company by market capitalization, estimated at $474 billion. Google and Exxon Mobil have been battling for second place, each worth roughly $407 billion.