Microsoft has leapfrogged Google to become the UK's strongest brand, according to the 2009 Superbrands report.

The 12th annual top 500 Superbrands survey has placed Microsoft in first place, while Google has dropped from top spot to number three. Watch brand Rolex takes second place in the Superbrands top 500.

Apple, which makes the iPod, also made the Top Ten for the first time in the Superbrand award's history, coming in at ninth spot ahead of Lego.

Other top performing technology brands include Nintendo (20), Sony (22), Nokia (59), IBM (61), HP (71), Intel (98) and BT (99).

The results of the annual survey are based on interviews with hundreds of experts and over 2,000 UK consumers. A list of around 1,400 brands was considered. Brands are judged against three factors, quality, reliability and distinction.

The survey defines a Superbrand as having established "the finest reputation in its field," offering "significant emotional and/or tangible advantages over other brands, which customers want and recognise."

Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of the Centre for Brand Analysis, which carried out the survey, said: "This year's survey reaffirms some of the downturn's winners and losers. The results, as always, return some surprises, with this year's notable high achiever being Encyclopaedia Britannica."

The encyclopaedia is tenth in the 2009 rankings.

But the companies which showed the biggest year-on-year improvement were fast-food brands. McDonald's surged 227 places, Burger King is up 189 places, KFC by 164 and Domino's Pizza by 144 places.

Superbrands 2009TOP 10 SUPERBRANDS 2009/10
4.British Airways
10.Encyclopaedia Britannica

The full list can be downloaded here (PDF).

As a CIO you personally need a strong brand, to learn more read the exclusive research carried out by CIO UK and Harvey Nash