The force is strong with the tech industry. Forbes' coveted list of the top 25 most valued brands was dominated by major technology companies like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Intel, Samsung, Cisco, SAP, Oracle, AT&T and Verizon. The combined valuation of these businesses reaches $436.4 billion. The rest of the list, filled with food, retail and car companies, came to $375.5 billion.
Apple (again) topped Forbes' list with a $104.3 billion valuation and 20% growth. We aren't surprised; Apple posted record sales for the iPhone 5S and 6, alongside increased distribution of their Mac computer line. Apple's wealth is so great that they could bail out Greece from its debt crisis -- twice.
Microsoft came in second at a $56.7 billion valuation that's only slightly over half of Apple's. Microsoft's capital has remained stagnant in the last three years, leading to thousands of layoffs and a push to become a relevant innovator through Windows 10 and products like HoloLens.
IBM was listed -- above Google -- at number four with a valuation of $50.7 billion. IBM faced tough odds during the 1990's dot-com bubble, but has since regained its prestige as one of the wealthiest companies on Earth. IBM manages thousands of valuable patents while pioneering artificial intelligence and new computing technologies, such as neurosynaptic chips.
Intel, valued at $30.9 billion, was the only tech company on the list that declined. Traditionally a chip maker for PCs, Intel has had no trouble staying ahead of AMD, but has struggled to gain a strong foothold in the rapidly growing mobile computing market where ARM-based chips from the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung and others have taken the lead.
While Forbes' report paints a favorable picture for the tech sector, things aren't going as smoothly for everyone in its ever-changing landscape. As we've noted, PC sales have dropped for established brands like Acer, while other financial woes might still be ahead if venture capitalists like Tallat Mahmood are right in their prediction that we're in another tech bubble that's about to burst.