Microsoft Corp. has risen to the top of a poll that asks Americans which major companies they think of most highly.
Other companies mentioned most often are IBM, General Motors, AT&T;, Ford, Wal-mart and General Electric, in that order, said a Harris Poll released Sunday.
Louis Harris and Associates asked a random sample of 1,011 adults to name the best companies last month, as it did the three previous years. Microsoft moved up to first place from fourth place in 1995 and 1996, and AT&T; fell from first to fourth, the polling company said.
Last year’s law deregulating the telecommunications industry threw AT&T; into a fierce territorial battle with local phone service providers. In contrast, Microsoft dominates its competition in computer operating systems, and has used that advantage to win market share for its World Wide Web software.
Boeing rose from No. 20 to No. 10. McDonalds slipped from No. 11 to No. 19. Pepsico, GTE (Sprint) and J.C. Penney Co. dropped out of the Top 20.
The results are subject to a margin of sampling error that amounts to plus or minus 3 percentage points.