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Microsoft is the most valuable technology brand in the world, according to Business Week magazine's latest ranking of global brands released Tuesday.

Microsoft came second to soft drinks giant Coca-Cola in the overall rankings. Third place went to another big Irish technology employer, IBM. Both Microsoft and IBM maintained the positions they held in the 2006 study.

HP and Intel also featured in the overall top 20, with Intel dropping two places from fifth to seventh overall and HP improving by one place to 12th.

Search giant Google rounded out the top 20, jumping four places from its 2006 ranking. Computer manufacturers Dell and Apple were 31st and 33rd respectively, while online auction firm eBay was ranked 48th. Meanwhile, search engine Yahoo! was a long way behind chief rival Google in 55th place.

For the seventh year running, Business Week teamed up with brand consultancy firm Interbrand to conduct the study. The methodology used by Interbrand evaluates brand value in the same way any other corporate asset is valued - on the basis of how much it is likely to earn for the company in the future.

Interbrand used a combination of analysts' projections, company financial documents, and its own qualitative and quantitative analysis to arrive at a net present value of those earnings.

Even to qualify for the list, each brand must derive at least a third of its earnings outside its home country, be recognisable outside of its base of customers, and have publicly available marketing and financial data.

© 2007 ENN

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