The research firm uses three factors: 1) the financial performance of the branded product or service; 2) the role the brand plays in influencing consumers; and 3) the strength of the brand in asking a premium price for its products or bringing in earnings for the company.
Jobs wanted customers to "feel a certain way" when using an Apple product, visiting an Apple store, or surfing to the Apple Web site, according to Interbrand. He knew that a brand "connects a business with the hearts and minds of consumers."
Apple has continued to thrive despite the absence of Jobs, thanks in part to his "smooth transfer of power" and his planning for the future, Interbrand noted. Some reports say that Jobs left plans for four years' worth of Apple products after his passing.
"The market may move on if Apple's products cease being a differentiator of class, taste, or cool, but that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon," Interbrand added.
IBM took third place behind Apple, with Google No. 4 and Microsoft No. 5. Intel was No. 8, Samsung No. 9, and Cisco No. 14. Other top tech brands included Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Nokia, Amazon, SAP, eBay, and Sony. Facebook found itself on the list for the first time, coming in at No. 69.