Microsoft more trusted than Apple, study says

A Forrester analysis suggests what some might find surprising: Microsoft gained the only "trailblazer" status by being trusted across generations.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read
Trusted? Microsoft/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Trust me, there aren't many people (or things) you can trust these days.

Everyone is out for themselves, ready to take advantage -- often, it seems, because it's just so much fun to take advantage.

However, I know you have a weak spot. You can't hide it. I have the research to prove it. You really, really trust Microsoft, don't you?

How do I know this? Well, while you were at CES wondering what part of your body you would like the gadget-makers to snatch next, I found a piece of highly trustworthy research conducted by Forrester. I know this research is trustworthy because it costs $499 to buy it.

This research, reports Geekwire, revealed the true inner feelings of America's consumers. When I say "true," I mean "TRUE."

Forrester, you see, has something called TRUE ranking. This measures the truth about brands along four axes: trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential.

In this case, it asked 4,551 adults to tell it the truth about tech brands, or else. And only one brand emerged as a trailblazer. This was, naturally, Microsoft.

Though Forrester admitted it was surprised, it insisted: that Microsoft was "at the forefront of brand building with a unique and distinct brand identity that sets it apart from other brands."

This might be news to those who saw the jigging children in school skirts attempting to launch the Surface and instead sending it into something of a dance of despair.

The difference, though, is that in a world in which we are all being spied upon and let down by those we thought we loved most, Microsoft has made Americans across all generations believe it is both trustworthy and essential.

Some may titter on the method by which Microsoft made itself essential. It isn't entirely dissimilar, they will say, to the muscular manner in which Google is now trying to entice people to use Google+.

But some shotgun marriages work, and Forrester believes that Redmond's "One Microsoft" strategy is resonating.

Indeed, Forrester's Tracy Stokes believes that it is Microsoft's Tom Hanksish stoicism that currently makes it so enticing: "The very ubiquity that perhaps renders it uncool turns out to also be its strength."

Should you be of the Apple or Samsung persuasion and are currently clutching your stomach with pain or laughter, Forrester offers some hope. Apple and Samsung are, indeed, seen as innovative.

Apple ranked highest on "remarkable" and "unmistakable." But with these attributes comes, apparently, danger.

As Recode reports, another piece of research last week offered similarly that Microsoft's brand was stronger and more marriage-worthy than Apple's.

This one (PDF) was from UTA Brand Studio. The company's founder and executive director, Larry Vincent, offered this painful thought: "A lot of the world uses Microsoft products and people relate to it, while Apple is like a prom king or queen, beautiful but not really like us."

One sentence from this survey some will find charmingly different: "Windows surpassed all other brands that consumers say they can't live without and relate more to themselves."

You may not have known it, but, yes, you are like Windows. You are Windows. The ups, the downs, the snakes, the ladders and tiles.

UTA's Vincent offered another line that might cause a few curses and conniptions: "Apple is vulnerable because of how polarized people were in their views about the brand. And Microsoft is still seen by many as being more like them."

I can see the brains, um, trust at Apple holding an emergency meeting within the next few days. It'll discuss how to make its brand duller and more like a spousal prospect, rather than some racy, gorgeous, and ultimately unattainable Jolie-Pitt entity.

Tim Cook will turn to Jony Ive and tell him to cut it out with all that design didgeridooing and show him how the iPhone 6 will look in beige.

The world is too neurotic these days. People can only trust something essential and lasting, rather than a remarkable, unmistakable, exciting brand that might -- just might -- betray them.

We just can't take the fear anymore because we know we'll end up getting hurt.

I mean, what if Apple never makes an iWatch?