News came out recently from Brand Finance that lists Microsoft's brand value as #2 in the world, valued at $42.81 billion. This is a jump in three spots from last years fifth place ranking. You can learn more about Brand Finance's Brand Directory and see the full Global 500 list here. They base their valuations on corporate revenue, sales forecasts, and bank discount rates.

This is some fantastic news that comes right on the heels of learning last week that Microsoft was also named one of the most ethical companies by the NYC think tank, The Ethisphere Institute. Forbes wrote about that story and you can read the full article here:

"Based on the information [we gather], Ethisphere verifies responses before a final score is provided," says Alex Brigham, executive director of the Ethisphere Institute. "Some of the information is easily verified and publicly available, and other times we request that companies send us non-public information to validate responses. This could include training policies, whistle-blower programs, internal tone-from-the-top communications and so forth."

Once the pool is culled down to a few hundred, Ethisphere cross-checks it against governance lists from organizations including GovernanceMetricsInternational and FTSE for Good. Any company that has had significant legal trouble over the past five years is dropped. Companies that focus on alcohol, tobacco or firearms also get the boot.