The coveted crown of world number one brand, long worn by Coca-Cola, is on the verge of passing to Microsoft according to an annual survey by Interbrand and Citibank. Many observers see this as presaging the eclipse of the old economy by the new.

The survey calculates a brand’s value on estimates of its future earnings potential, basing this on analysts' reports and the company's financial statements.

Seemingly impregnable as frontrunner just a year ago with a market value of $83.8bn, a series of misfortunes has seen the Coca-Cola brand decline by 13% to $72.5bn. Conversely, coming up fast on the rails and now running almost neck and neck is Microsoft, whose value has risen 24% from $56.7 billion to $70.2bn.

In addition to the leading pair, hi-tech companies now account for four of the world's five most highly valued brands, with IBM, Intel and Nokia respectively in third, fourth and fifth positions. This compares with the more stately growth rate of ‘old economy’ brands such as General Electric which has been edged from fourth into sixth place. Likewise, Ford and Disney have also declined by the same yardstick.

News source: Financial Times