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Apple tops Google as UK 'Thought Leader'

Tories top thinkers too

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Apple has replaced Google as the top "Business Thought Leader" in the UK, according to a survey of 1,000 Blighty-based "Key Opinion Leaders."

The survey - known as the Thought Leadership Index 2009 (PDF) - was conducted by the brand-floggers TLG Communications and the research firm Populus. Those opinion-offering KOLs (yes, that's what they call them) were chosen from a broad range of business, non-profit, government, and media sources.

Apparently, the KOLs are more impressed by Steve Job's 100,000 apps in Cupertino's tightly controlled iTunes App Store than they are with Eric Schmidt's similarly proprietary Chrome OS, seeing as how the Jobsian crew vaulted over the Googly group to displace it as this year's el numero uno.

Microsoft held onto the number-three spot this year. Was it Windows 7 that was their leading thought in 2009? Other thoughtful tech companies include Amazon, tied with Redmond for number three; Facebook, number eight; and Twitter squeaking in at number 10.

Top 10 Business Thought Leaders

1. Apple
2. Google
3. (tie) Microsoft
3. (tie) Amazon
3. (tie) GlaxoSmithKline
6. (tie) Co-operative Group
6. (tie) Marks & Spencer
8. Facebook
9. Virgin Group
10. Twitter

The KOLs also gave their considered opinion on non-profit Thought Leaders, with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation coming from nowhere to edge out the armed forces service group Help for Heroes for the top non-profit thought spot. Amnesty International, last year's top non-profit, slipped to number five.

Bringing up the rear of the top ten non-profit leaders is none other than the Conservative Party. It's safe to say that Gordon Brown may not have been among the voting KOLs.

Top 10 Non-profit Thought Leaders

1. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
2. Help for Heroes
3. (tie) The Prince's Trust
3. (tie) BBC World Service
5. (tie) Amnesty International
5. (tie) The Carbon Trust
5. (tie) Liberty
8. Oxfam
9. Greenpeace
10. The Conservative Party

An article in the Telegraph notes that this is the second year that the Tories have made the list, citing "their increasing influence over the political debate." ®

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