Apple Overtaken by Google in Yet Another Category

Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) brand isn't what it used to be. According to communications firm Millward Brown, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  )   (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) now has the most popular brand in the world, surpassing Apple, which occupied the top spot in each of the last three years.

While this won't affect Apple's financial results, particularly in the near future, it does serve to reinforce a common criticism of the company and simultaneously highlight a weakness with one of its long-standing strategies.

Very different valuations
When it comes to valuation, it's indisputable: The market expects much more from Google than Apple. The latter's price-to-earnings ratio has been less than the broader market's for many quarters now, and though it has begun to tick up in recent weeks, remains quite low, particularly compared to Google's.

Google is currently trading with a P/E near 28, almost twice Apple's 14.5. There are many potential reasons to explain this discrepancy, but Apple's commitment to secrecy definitely plays a role.

Google flaunts its experiments with self-driving cars. It talks about curing death and building real Androids. There's Google Glass, Project Aura (the modular smartphone), and the acquisition of Nest -- the first step in a Google-centric home. Video game consoles, drones, weather balloons, fiber Internet -- Google makes no attempts to hide its moonshot bets. Most of these projects are very likely to fail, but think of the possibilities! You're not just buying an advertising machine -- you're buying a call option on the future (or so Google's management would have you believe).

With Apple? None of that. It may be that Apple is planning to revolutionize wearable computing, mobile payments, and perhaps the television -- but investors just don't know. Apple's management is evasive, occasionally dropping hints, but never offering anything concrete. When you buy a share of Apple, you know you're buying a company that depends almost totally on the iPhone, with a declining tablet business and a few other projects on the side. The excitement that Google exudes simply isn't there.

Apple's Tim Cook had promised new product categories across 2014, but here we are, almost halfway through the year and nothing new has been unveiled. Is the iWatch coming this year? A revolutionary Apple TV? Perhaps. Or maybe not. The analysts and supply chain leakers who have been reporting on these devices have been predicting their imminent release for, quite literally, years.

Is its commitment to secrecy weighing on its brand?
Its refusal to divulge its future plans may be weakening its brand image, according to Millward Brown, which says that Google's "boldness" helped it to leapfrog Apple, as the later's product portfolio is beginning to show signs of being stale.

Of course, there are advantages to its secrecy -- it keeps competitors on their toes, and Apple's brand value hasn't exactly plummeted (it's in second place, after all). Longtime Apple shareholders aren't likely to care. Commitment to secrecy is a core part of Apple's philosophy; there's nothing new there.

But it's still a disappointing trend for the iPhone maker. After surpassing Apple's iOS in smartphones and tablets, Google has now overtaken it in brand image as well.

Leaked: How Apple plans to take back the "top brand" crown
Apple recently recruited a secret-development Dream Team to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out... and some early viewers are even claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, AND the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of these type of devices will be sold per year. But one small company makes this gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (8)

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  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 12:01 PM, cardioid wrote:

    Here's an article from an Apple hater and Google lover that goes so far as saying Google is the better company because it is trading at a higher earnings multiple. Bigger is better, right? I bet I can beat Tiger Woods any day because I take at least three times as many puts.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 12:32 PM, Hansen wrote:

    Apple Wants Ban On Samsung Devices, Again

    Apple is yet again asking for a ban on the sale of Samsung’s phones in the US on grounds that the latter’s products are causing it “irreparable harm”

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 2:01 PM, johnestromjr wrote:

    Be patient, grasshopper. The WWDC starts a week from today and perhaps something will be announced then. Maybe not.

    As for Millward Brown - who's ever heard of them? Yet several TMF have commented on their rating Google's brand as number one. Based on what? The only thing Google makes any money on are ad clicks from their Android OS. Everything else they're spending/losing money on. And I'll wager if a survey was done worldwide Apple would finish well ahead of Google and perhaps even give Coca Cola a run for it's money. Simple question, Sam. Which has the highest Market Cap? The answer is not Google - and I seriously doubt it ever will be. Ever.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 4:00 PM, k1moops wrote:

    Frankly, Apple brand name is unsurpassable where it counts - paying patrons checking out Apple products at the cashiers with cash and credit. Apple's big gambit into PC and Server territories with 64-bit has planted the seeds for trumping every competition, including Microsoft's long time 64-bit Windows which has been saddled with limitations that makes Windows little more than an advanced 32-bit operating system operating on meagre hardware and peripherals little better than the 1980's. The newer 64-bit iOS and OSX apps will blast those Microsoft imposed hardware and peripheral limitations into smothering ashes bringing in totally mindboggling hardware and peripherals such as 1-terabyte RAM and 1-petabyte SSD running on CPU with Petaflops in performances. You will need to look up the dictionaries to find out and understand what cool Apple products are made of. Microsoft is already a sitting duck. Do you know that Android is still a 32-bit operating system? How can Android as a 32-bit operating system compete with the currently 64-bit iOS and OSX? Do you know what the 32-bit operating systems did to the old 16-bit operating systems? It's déjà vu all over again as mobile developers migrate from 32-bit operating systems to 64-bit operating systems, and this time, Apple already has the lead, with over $140 billion cash to bring in the new 64-bit world, all current 32-bit and pseudo 64-bit hardware and software platforms, software, products and services will be obsolete and ditched. Organizations and individuals that fail to migrate to the new 64-bit Apple will be obsolete and ditched by the roadside. There are no doubts whatsoever in my mind.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 4:07 PM, shortmanfl wrote:

    Google is not a brand. Nike is. Apple is. Budweiser is. Google is a search engine developed by former Apple employees. You been to a Google store lately or had a glass of cold google. I did have to google Millward Brown. I suppose that is a brand also.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 4:25 PM, k1moops wrote:

    Key for the near future, long before year 2020, is are you 64-bit or 32-bit? Nothing else would matter at all. The 64-bit world has already been unveiled by Apple finally, all the iPhone 5S and iPad Air are true 64-bit machines, is your Samsung Galaxy S5 or Note 3 64-bit? No. In fact, iPhone 5S and iPad Air are the world's only 64-bit mobile machines, the rest are PC laptops, desktops, and servers. I predict Apple releasing its own iPhone RAM bused memory extension modules with extra batteries in 64, 128, 256 and 1-terabyte configurations that can snap into iPhone and iPad Thunderbolt II ports allowing brand new iOS all-in-memory apps. Currently apps and data are using a lot of storage and hardware memories which are thousands of times slower than the next generation all-in-memory apps. As apps grow in complexity, power, and sizes, theses apps can no longer use the relatively glacial speeds and volatility of web and Internet, these all-in-memory apps must run in the device RAM with absolute minimal communications such as web and Internet, some people confuse that with the Internet if Things, but the gist if all-in-memory apps is its ability to complete units of tasks millions of times faster than today's web applications enabling super intelligent apps and services at much higher level of abstraction - ability to think beyond logic and reasoning - these apps can do a lot more than just self-learn, these apps can actually create instead of synthesize from existing entities.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 4:34 PM, k1moops wrote:


    Hard disk memory.

    Internet of Things.

    PS. I hate these stupid auto corrections.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2014, at 3:25 AM, mlindl wrote:

    I always find it pretty fascinating how people love Google. For what? Throwing ads in your face you don't want every time you search? For making you sign in to YouTube to share a video? Google's strength is about getting information about you and directing advertising to you. That's all good and well. But if Apple decides to do search, Google's ONLY money-making venture is under threat. Google does lots of high profile stuff. But useable, profit-making stuff? I don't see it. It is an advertising agency posing as a technology giant. I've even moved away from Google search for Bing. If Apple does search, it might very well put Yahoo, Google and Microsoft competing for the low-end buyer ad business.

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Sam Mattera

Sam has a love of all things finance. He writes about tech stocks and consumer goods.

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