Microsoft Corp is cooler than you might think.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll
found that just under half of 853 respondents between the age of 18 and
29 thought Microsoft is cooler now than it was a year or two ago.
software maker, often derided in Silicon Valley for failing to dream up
products that captivate a new generation of social media and mobile
savvy consumers, managed to pip Facebook Inc in the survey only 42
percent of young adults thought the world's largest social network is
cooler now than in the past. Twitter scored 47 percent, below
Microsoft's 50 percent.
Part of Microsoft's lift appears to stem
from a well-coordinated marketing blitz around its all-new Surface
tablets, which have revamped the familiar Windows interace with a
tile-based, mobile app-friendly look and feel. Its Xbox gaming console
and "Kinect" accessory, which can respond to gestures and voice
commands, has in the past year also burnished its image around younger
Josh Johnson, a 24-year-old media arts student at the
University of South Carolina and self-professed gaming aficionado, said
he has been impressed with Microsoft's consumer-oriented push with
"It's more customizable, and not as rigid as an Apple
phone, where you have to buy all the products from Apple," Johnson said.
"If you want a ringtone, you don't have to pay iTunes."
"I know Apple is the cool, hip brand right now, but if Microsoft keeps
coming out with new tech I'm sure it'll be back soon."
despite falling out of favour with many Wall Street investors, still
scored well in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, the first in a series that aims
to measure brand perception and usage over time for major consumer tech
About 60 percent of 18- to 29-year-old respondents still
thought Apple was cooler now than in the past. But Google Inc's Android
brand did even better, with a full 70 percent giving it the thumbs up.
"coolness" remains, at best, an amorphous concept, consumer perceptions
are pivotal in determining the longevity of products, particularly in
the fast-moving consumer electronics industry.
the personal computing industry and is still far larger than most other
tech corporations on the planet. But it has seldom won plaudits for
cutting-edge consumer technology and its share price has plateaued for a
decade under CEO Steve Ballmer's watch.
Apart from Xbox and
Kinect, Microsoft's past is littered with failed attempts to conquer the
consumer gadget marketplace, from clunky early tablets and wrist-watch
computers to the Zune music player and Kin phone.
estimates that Microsoft sold fewer than 900,000 Surface tablets in the
fourth quarter, a fraction of the 23 million iPads sold by Apple.
Windows phones now account for 3 percent of the global smartphone
market, Gartner says, far behind Google's Android with 70 percent and
Apple with 21 percent.
The survey "definitely shows that
Microsoft's efforts are paying off, but we'll have to see how cool
translates into customers," said Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg.
"It's also hard to compare 'cool' factor as a quantitative measure
against Apple, a company, and Android, a platform."
The poll of about 4,800 people produced fewer surprises in other areas.
social media, 90 percent of 18- to 29-yearolds said they log in to
Facebook, including 54 percent who use it "continuously throughout the
day." Nearly 30 percent of respondents in their 50s, and 18 percent of
those over 60, also say they use it nonstop.
figures dwarf those of Twitter and Tumblr, as well as new kid on the
block Pinterest, the visual "pinboard" sensation. Despite its influence
in media discourse, 50 percent of young adults say they do not use
Twitter. By comparison, 58 percent said they do not use Pinterest and 68
percent said they do not use Tumblr.
Harley Pruitt, an
18-year-old high school student in Newnan, Georgia, said Facebook
remains the only social network she logs onto because it's the easiest
way to contact friends from many years ago, while other social networks
feel less accessible.
"Myspace is long gone and Twitter is
confusing as all get-out," Pruitt said. "I'm a creature of habit, so I
can't predict that Facebook will fade off."
The poll, which will
be repeated in coming months, included responses from 4,798 people
surveyed between February 5 and February 19. The data is collected
online from a pool of pre-screened candidates.
The accuracy of the
poll is measured using a survey technique called a "credibility
interval" and is precise to within 1.6 percentage points. Among the
young adult aged 18 to 29 subset, the credibility interval was 3.8
© Thomson Reuters 2013