Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Do you know IT’s 10 biggest brands

The slowdown may have taken some sheen off IT companies. However, when it comes to brand power, no other industry can match IT industry across the globe. The recent media consultant Interbrand's survey shows this once again. The survey results which list the hottest brands in the world across industry segments have as many as five technology companies in the top ten.

Using a combination of analysts' projections, company financial documents, and its own qualitative and quantitative analysis, Interbrand evaluates brand value the way any other corporate asset is valued.

Here's bringing to you the Top 10 technology brands from the list.

The title for biggest global tech brand goes to the computing giant International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), with a brand value of $59,031 million. According to the magazine, "A resurgent tech-services business together with highly profitable software edges Big Blue ahead of rival Microsoft." The company's brand value has seen a 3 per cent increase over the past year.

More than 100-years old, US-based IBM is primarily a computer technology and consulting organisation. Headquartered in Armonk, USA, the company offers IT infrastructure and BPO services, such as strategic outsourcing, business transformation outsourcing, integrated technology and maintenance.

IBM has over 4 lakh employees worldwide. Founded in 1896 as the Tabulating Machine Company by Herman Hollerith in New York, IBM was incorporated in 1911. In 1950, IBM became the dominant vendor in the emerging computer industry with the release of the IBM 701 and other models of mainframe series. The company's logo has evolved from a form intended to suggest a globe with the world 'international' in its middle to the current logo with horizontal stripes and solid letters suggesting speed and dynamism.

Five key overseas growth markets for IBM include China, India, Brazil, Australia and South Korea -- with each contributing more than $1 billion in revenue annually. IBM made its second entry in India in 1992 after its exit in 1970s. In the year 2007 the revenues of the Indian arm of Big Blue grew maximum among major markets including China (in dollar terms). The overall headcount saw a jump of 20,000. The major clients included, Vodafone, Indian Railways and Ministry of Social Welfare.

World's top software company Microsoft slipped to third position in the Global brands 2008 list. With a brand value touching $59,007 million, the company's Windows operating system runs on more than 90 per cent of the world's computers, which means it is used on nearly a billion machines worldwide. Microsoft Office, which includes applications such as Word and Excel, also has captured around 90 per cent of the office software market.

However, the software giant is facing tough competition in the Internet space from Google. The company's CEO Steve Ballmer recently said that he plans to spend millions of dollars to fix the company's unprofitable Internet business.

Microsoft, the biggest software maker, has lost about $90 billion in market value this year as Ballmer vacillated on Yahoo and failed to show how he would crack Google Inc's dominance of Internet advertising. The company's Net income rose 42 per cent last quarter to $4.3 billion on an 18 per cent sales increase. Microsoft also lowered its full-year earnings forecast.

Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates, who left the company this June, Microsoft has operations in more than 104 countries and employs nearly 80,000 people, 60 per cent of whom work in the United States. Microsoft recently announced a $300-million ad campaing to revive Windows Vista's image and has roped in a host of celebrities, including the Indian spiritual Guru, Deepak Chopra.

Ranked at no. 5, world's largest cellphone manufacturer, Nokia has a brand value of $35,942 million. The company sees 7 per cent rise in its brand value. Nokia with a portfolio of products ranging from high-end to low-end cellphone models, Internet services and music store posted strong results in the last quarter.

In the past few months, Nokia has strengthened its focus on services. The company is turning from hardware to software and services. Several of the company's recent launches aim to direct users to its Internet services instead of Google's, or to its music stores instead of Apple's iTunes.

Also, the company is fast shedding its conservative design appeal, and is turning its attention to clamshells, thin phones, and touchscreens. The company in December plans to launch its first touchscreen model codenamed Tube. Nokia is also heavily investing in research and development. The Morph concept, which Nokia is exploring with researchers in nanoscience at Cambridge University, is one example of a more consultative approach: combining know-how about tiny particles and electronics to see, for example, if a stretchy circuit could be made. Another was the way Nokia in February floated the notion of a phone made almost entirely from recycled materials.

World's largest semiconductor company, Intel holds seventh position on the list and has a brand value of $31,261 million. Last week, Intel rolled out its first chip with six brains, unveiling a "multi-core" microprocessor that boosts computing muscle while cutting back on electricity use. Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices have two-core and four-core chips on the market. The new Xeon 7400 series microprocessor has been designed by none other than Intel engineers at Bangalore from scratch.

According to reports, Intel will be discontinuing the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 and 9650 CPUs in Q1 of 2009. Other parts being discontinued include the Core 2 Quad Q9450, Core 2 Duo E8300, Pentium E222, and the Celeron E1200.

Founded in 1968 by semiconductor pioneers Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, the company is based in Santa Clara, California, USA. The company's ad campaign in 1990 'Intel Inside' made it a household name.The company offers all employees stock options and a profit-sharing programme that gives them a direct stake in the company's financial performance.

Based out of Bangalore, the company has around 2500 employees in India. It recently announced the launch of a desktop range that starts at Rs 5,000 (around $125) in the country. The company also plans a complete makeover of ultra low-cost laptop. Intel gets 75 to 80 per cent of its business from outside US.

Internet search giant Google is at 10th spot with a brand value of $25,590 million. Google is the largest company by market cap that is not the part of Dow Jones Industrial Average. Since its IPO in 2004, the company has continued to grow at a significant pace. Its acquisitions have played a key role in this, including multi-billion acquisitions of YouTube and DoubleClick.

The company which recently released its long-rumoured Web browser, Chrome, sees 25 per cent change in its brand value. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin on Sept 7, 1998, Google has nearly 19,604 employees. The company has nearly two-thirds of the world's online search requests, according to the research firm comScore Inc, and sells about three-fourths of the ads tied to search requests, according to another firm, eMarketer Inc.

The dominance has enabled Google to rake in $48 billion from Internet ads since 2001. The company hopes to inhale even more Internet advertising from the biggest deal in its short history -- a $3.2 billion acquisition of online marketing service DoubleClick Inc that was completed six months ago.

However, the intensifying regulatory and political scrutiny on Google's expansion could present some roadblocks in the future. Even now, there's a chance that US antitrust regulators will challenge Google's plans to sell ads for Yahoo Inc.

IT giant Hewlett-Packard ranks at no. 12 on the global brand list with a brand value of $23,509 million. With revenue totaling $113.1 billion for the four fiscal quarters ended July 31, 2008, the company sees 6 per cent change in brand value.

Founded in 1939 by William (Bill) Hewlett and David (Dave) Packard, both electrical engineers from Stanford University, the company today has operations spread in more than 170 countries. The maker of computers and printers recently made a $13.2 billion acquisition of technology services provider Electronic Data Systems (EDS). The company plans to cut 7.5 per cent of its workforce, or 24,600 jobs, seeking to realise savings from its acquisition of EDS.

The company will carry out the cutbacks over the next three years, while replacing about half the jobs in new areas of its services business. Nearly half of the job reductions will take place in the United States. India too is likely to bear the brunt with about 1,000 jobs getting slashed across categories.

Eyeing the consumer space, HP is working on several touchscreen products, including notebooks that will use the finger-tapping interface popularised by iPhone. The company plans to buy back up to $8 billion more of its own shares. HP said the new program was in addition to the $8 billion authorization approved in November.

The listing ranks Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc as the seventeenth biggest global brand and seventh biggest tech brand. US-based Cisco with a brand value of $21,306 million witnessed a 12 per cent rise in its brand value in the past year. The company replaced Microsoft as the world's most valuable company for a brief period in 2000.

The top US network equipment maker has been aiming for long-term revenue growth of 12 to 17 percent a year, but it has recently fallen below that. Cisco has forecast 8 percent growth in the current quarter and 8.5 percent growth in the next. While Cisco is best known for selling routers and switches, it has expanded in recent years into software and new technologies such as video conferencing and data center virtualization.

Chief Executive John Chambers told media recently that Cisco would continue to broaden its technology portfolio and would make sure various products -- including software, hardware, and services -- link together and complement each other.

Founded in 1984 by a small group of computer scientists from Stanford University, the company has more than 66,000 employees. Headquartered in San Jose, California, the company sells technology and services under five brands, namely Cisco, Linksys, WebEx, IronPort, and Scientific Atlanta, the latter four are its acquisitions. Aiming to further its push into the online conferencing market, Cisco Systems recently acquired instant-messaging start-up Jabber Inc for an undisclosed amount.

Another non-US company to make its place in the Global top brands is consumer electronics maker Samsung with a brand value of $17,689 million. South Korean giant has a vast portfolio that includes semiconductors, telecommunication products, home appliances and digital media products.

Founded as 'Samsung Store' in 1938 by Lee Byung-Chul as a small trading firm, Samsung recently made a $5.85 billion bid to take over SanDisk Corp, maker of flash storage cards. However, california-based SanDisk rejected its bid contending that the offer undervalues the company.

The company posted a lower-than-expected profits in Q1 and faces a tough second half with a sluggish memory chip market and lower margins in flat screens and mobile phones. Samsung's April-June net profit rose 51 per cent to 2.14 trillion won ($2.12 billion) from 1.42 trillion won last year during a market slump for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips used mainly in PCs.

The company is in talks with Sony Corp to jointly build a new, larger LCD production line that could cost $3-4 billion. Samsung is the world's largest producer of NAND flash memory.

The world's second-largest software maker, Oracle is the ninth largest technology brand globally with a brand value of $13,831 million. The company witnessed an 11 per cent increase in its brand value over the past year.

Oracle recently surged the most in two years in Nasdaq trading after its earnings forecast reassured investors that a worsening economy isn't eroding profit. Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison, 64, is relying on customer-support fees to boost profit as growth in technology spending slows. He has spent more than $34.5 billion on acquisitions since January 2005, gaining a wider base of customers who purchase annual maintenance contracts. According to the company, the fees have become Oracle's most profitable business.

In the last quarter, Oracle revenue gains overseas outstripped growth in the Americas, with Asian operations showing the fastest growth, 30 percent. Sales in the Americas climbed 13 percent to $2.69 billion, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa surged 20 percent to $1.83 billion.

Headquartered in Redwood City, California, the company was founded in 1977 by Larry Ellison and his friends Bob Miner and Ed Oates. Oracle was among the first few multinational software companies to set up operations in India.

The tenth biggest technology brand is the king of consumer gadgets Apple. The company behind some of the most iconic gadgets boasts a brand value of $13,724 millions, which saw a jump of a whopping 24 per cent rise during the past year.

In January 2007, Steve Jobs introduced iPhone, Apple's state-of-the-art mobile phone. With iPod and its accessories, Apple TV and the iPhone, it became clear that Apple is no longer a mere computer company. Hence, went the term `Computer' from its official name. On the same day CEO Steve Jobs unveiled to the world another Apple product which has gone on to redefine the mobile market: Apple iPhone. The touchscreen device shook the cell phone giants and made them wake up to a new rival, apple.

Apple iPhone hit the market in June 2007. The device got updated this year and has been introduced in 22 countries across the globe. The second-generation iPhone runs on 3G network and supports business email system.


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