Google has overtaken Microsoft to secure the top spot in a major Japanese survey of corporate brand perception.
The company has been growing in Japan and easily attracts more traffic each month than competing Microsoft websites, but Microsoft's long history in Japan and deep ties with Japanese IT vendors had given it an advantage until this year.
Google scored 782 points in the survey, a single point ahead of Microsoft, which was ranked in second place. The latest ranking reverses last year's top spots and puts the two US tech giants almost equal. Last year Google was 25 points behind Microsoft.
The annual survey is carried out online by Nikkei Research and this year received responses from 33,033 consumers and 14,184 business people. It asks respondents how they perceive major brands and the experiences they gain from using a company's products or services.
Yahoo Japan, Google's biggest competitor in Japan and operator of the country's most popular Web portal, managed to climb a couple of positions to fourth place. That put it behind Sony, which kept hold of its number-three position.
Other IT companies in the top 20 were Canon, ranked sixth, Panasonic at position eight, Casio at nine, and Sharp at position 18.