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Microsoft PC ads finally hurting Mac image?

updated 10:50 am EDT, Tue May 19, 2009

MS PC Ads May be Working

Microsoft's Laptop Hunters ads may be hurting Apple's image, according to new data from BrandIndex. Looking at the perceived value for money of Apple and Microsoft brands, the research shows Apple dropping from a peak in February and March to well below Microsoft by mid-May. In contrast, Microsoft itself climbed from a score of 0 near the start of 2009 to 46, or much higher than Apple's current 12.

The analysts, who studied 5,000 people, argue that the difference is fueled as much by Microsoft's ads as the economy. Although most of the study occurred when people were already scaling back their spending, BrandIndex notes that Apple was doing well even in September, when the full weight of the US economic collapse became apparent. Much of the decline is attributed to the younger 18-to-34 group, which is more likely to be especially sensitive to price but was also the most apt to respond to Apple in the past.

"Apple did a great job of putting Microsoft on the defensive," BrandIndex global managing director Ted Marzilli says. "It made them look old, stodgy, complicated to use and unhip. But Microsoft has started to hit back, and younger folks are more cost- or value-focused."

Although Apple was also dealt a blow with those aged 35 and higher, the data has Apple regaining its lead over Microsoft for those between 35 and 49 and sitting roughly even with Microsoft for those 50 or older.

The overall effect is nonetheless a minor victory for Microsoft, which has been battered since 2007 due to both Windows Vista and Apple's own success at portraying itself as worth a higher price. It's not known whether the brand perception will translate to improved sales, however. Mac sales will potentially decline year-over-year, but Microsoft has also seen a rare revenue drop of its own during the winter that was owed both to struggling Windows sales as well as a shift towards Windows XP on netbooks, which Microsoft deliberately underprices to head off competition from Linux.

The study also concluded just before Apple's newest ad campaign, which specifically responded to the Laptop Hunters ads and portrayed Windows having many poor choices. [via AdAge]

by MacNN Staff



  1. appleuzr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They can have em.

    Let these people buy their cheap HP or Toshiba computers. Keep the Mac following small. Let these people play with their glossy, cheap, ugly, virus infected computers and lets be thankful they're not giving us (the people who do their research, look at the long term cost of ownership, functionality, design and build quality) a bad name.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well Baller was right

    Amazing, he actually found the formula to beat Apple back to where he wants it to be. About 1% market share if he keeps this up. By taking advantage of the bad economic situation, he leveraged it up Microsoft value. Despite the billions spent on viruses and its cousins. He did good putting a fast one on the unsuspecting public. Thats Microsoft true power.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Microsoft does have a point--PCs are "cheaper" than Macs. There is no doubt that a $600 PC is going to do e-mail and YouTubeing just as good as on a Mac; however, if that is all you are buying a computer for, you'd be foolish to buy a Mac. No-one would argue that.

    However, if you plan on having a computer w/ some longevity to it.....well processor....good customer service (state-side)....virus-free....then you'd be foolish not to buy a Mac.

    I've cut my teeth on Windows for years and I know the 'under the hood' differences between what retailers are hawking on store shelves and what Apple is selling--Apple always puts the higher-end CPUs and GPUs in their hardware which makes it cost more, but you can have a 4-5yr old Mac and it still runs Leopard just fine.

    With all the 'c***' that the Windows world has to offer, I can't imagine not owning a Mac.

  1. JBytes

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not for everyone

    I always believed that Macs are not for the penny-pincher.

  1. cyn1c

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I agree, if you are cost or value focused, you shouldn't be buying a Mac. You should be buying a low end PC every few years.

    My opinion is that Macs don't really compete until you start buying higher end PCs, but then they are a really nice option.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why did Microsoft even enter this arena? Did they start manufacturing computers recently and I didn't hear about it? Have they taken over marketing for HP? Why do they care about a company with such a small market share? I think Ballmer needs to grow up and stop wanting to have everything his own way.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Just look up "Mac sales better than feared in April following desktop" at appleinsider

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    yeah, it's the ads

    Or maybe, it's the huge variety of extremely cheap PCs on the market these days, while Apple has kept their prices steady. If you're a bargain hunter these days, you'll really find some amazing deals on computers, and Apple really is locking themselves out of a large part of the market as they either don't compete (like in low-priced upgradable towers usable for gaming), or simply don't offer any low end options (like in laptops). I'm sure the ads haven't helped, but they're completely insignificant next to the fliers I get for amazingly cheap PCs for sale from local retailers. It's hard to go shopping for a computer these days and NOT be confronted with a very tough decision to spend significantly more for a Mac or get a cheap disposable PC.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MS Cares because...

    Every non-Mac PC sale is an MS sale. Mac market share has been increasing, *nix share has been increasing, which means MS share is decreasing. They're doing everything they deem necessary to never get even remotely close to a tipping point. Which, admittedly is like applying the brakes in Williams AZ to make sure you don't plunge into the Grand Canyon. But then look what Apple did to the smartphone market from the seed of an initially unassuming music player.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969




    You kids are great.

    When will you learn that most of the world doesn't agree with you. You are in love with a brand. It's not tangible. You are suckers for Apple's PR and marketing.

    Apple products do not cost more because they are of higher quality. The cost more mainly because of Apple's distribution scheme and sales numbers. Since volume is LOW, profit per unit must be HIGH. The price difference between an Apple and a Dell is profit in apple's pocket. Not better parts. Pretty fundamental economics. Take a look at the numbers.

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