Few companies are as polarizing as Apple,  you either love them or hate them, with not many falling in the middle. Despite your personal feelings on the company, there’s no debating Jobs and Co. know how to make cold hard cash.  If you don’t follow the market, and 10K’s and 10Q’s mean nothing to you, the advertising group WPP has compiled a list of the 10 most valuable brands, with Apple claiming the #1 spot from Google with an estimated brand (not company) value of over of over $153 million, up 84% from last year.  For comparison, Google, the silver medalist in the brand Olympics,  was valued at just over $111 million, representing a 2% decline from the previous year.  Also making the list were GE, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, AT&T amongst others.

So how did WPP come to these numbers?  MacRumors explains “Brand values are calculated using an analysis of financial and market data alongside reports from analysts and surveys of over two million consumers around the globe. That information is processed in an effort to ascribe a value to brands that allow a company to differentiate itself from competitors.”

Registering a staggering 84 percent increase in value over the past year, Apple has emerged as the most valuable brand in the world, ending the four-year reign of Google at the top of the table in the sixth annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study. The Apple brand, as calculated by Millward Brown Optimor, a WPP company, has increased in value by 859 percent since 2006 and now stands at $153.3 billion. Other key findings in the study are that during the economic recovery of the last year, the combined value of all the brands in the top 100 has risen by 17 percent and is now worth $2.4 trillion. In terms of geography, according to the 2011 BrandZ study, 19 of the Top 100 brands now originate in “BRICs” markets, versus only two in 2006.

“The importance of brand for global business success is becoming increasingly significant,” said David Roth at WPP. “In the last year, the global economy shifted from recovery to real growth, the combined value of all brands in the Top 100 ranking has risen by 64 percent since 2006 and is now worth $2.4 trillion. Strong brands, while not immune to the vicissitudes of the market, are more protected, prepared, resourceful and resilient.”

The full press release is here.

So we’ve show all financials to you, but how does this make your inner fanboy feel?  Are your iOS tendencies validated that you are backing the more valuable horse?  Do the Android faithful cry foul?  You know we love to fuel the flames.  Keep it civil in the comments.

[Via WPP and MacRumors]