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Microsoft Businesses

Microsoft Brand In Sharp Decline 399

Amy Bennett writes "A recent poll of about 12,000 US business decision-makers by market researcher CoreBrand found that Microsoft's brand power has taken a dive over the past four years. According to the study, Microsoft dropped from number 12 in the ranking of the most powerful US company brands in 2004 to number 59 last year. In 1996, the company ranked number 1 in brand power among 1,200 top companies in about 50 industries. The CEO of CoreBrand said: 'When you see something decline with increasing velocity, it's a concern.' To add some historical context, IBM suffered a much faster and more severe decline in brand power in the early 1990s and it took them 10 years to rebuild the brand's reputation."
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Microsoft Brand In Sharp Decline

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  • No, I can't RTFA. After all, this is /.
    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:48PM (#22895094) Journal
      According to the PDF linked to in the article, the top eleven are:
      1. Coca-Cola (same rank as last year)
      2. Johnson & Johnson (same rank as last year)
      3. Hershey Foods (up from number 8 last year)
      4. Harley-Davidson (up from number 6 last year)
      5. Hallmark Cards (same as last year)
      6. Campbell Soup (up from 10 last year)
      7. UPS (down from 4 last year)
      8. FedEx (down from 7 last year)
      9. Colgate-Palmolive (up from 12 last year)
      10. Starbucks (up from 13 last year)
      11. PepsiCo (down from 3 last year)
      This list is measured from a telephone interview among business leaders. Their scores were weighted higher if they had more familiarity with the companies in question. They were rated based on the Brand's overall reputation, perception of management, and investment potential. Note that these are corporate brands, not consumer brands. Apple is not on the list, in case anyone was wondering.
      • by greymond ( 539980 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:58PM (#22895216) Homepage Journal
        I guess I just don't understand the list of apples and oranges and cars from the article. It just seems to me that if you're going to compare companies they should be at least in similar markets. Sure if you're doing a who's top earner then I can see throwing everyone in the same basket, but then you'd also want to get more accurate information and not just base findings off of a phone survey, which to me is just crap info.
        • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )
          Good point. It seemed to me that, in general, nearly every company in the tech sector fell significantly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Grave ( 8234 )
        #4 is Harley-Davidson, which is listed in the "Hotel & Entertainment" category. Are there Harley Hotels I'm unaware of? Shouldn't they be in "Motor Vehicles"?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Hahahahahahaha.... they might be if you could actually trust them to run reliably. A lot of people don't ride their harleys to the bike rallies: they drive their car and cart the harley in a trailer. One of the reasons that's so is because riding a motorcyle long distance is very tiring, the other is the rate of failure of Harley's is atrocious.

          I can't believe I'm doing this, but if Harley Davidson is ranked number 4, then this study has little or no bearing on the reliability of products the company m
          • by Ralgha ( 666887 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:56PM (#22896086)
            This study has nothing to do with reliability, only brand recognition. Regardless of Harley's reliability, they are a very, very widely recognized brand name.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by couchslug ( 175151 )
            More like "was atrocious". back in the Shovelhead days now decades gone. FWIW even those were so easy to work on that they very rarely went to scrap, unlike (check any cycle salvage if you doubt me!) most other brands.

            Since the Evo engine in the 1980s, Harleys have been boringly reliable, and are easy to support with aftermarket parts. You can build a whole motorcycle from such if you wish. Going over 100K miles on an Evo isn't uncommon.

            "A lot of people don't ride their harleys to the bike rallies: they dri
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by killjoe ( 766577 )
          The CEO of harley davidson has himself said they are in the fashion business not the motorcyle business. Harley Davidsom makes more money off their apparel than they do off of their (overpriced and expensive) motorcycles.

          Come to think of it the cycles themselves are nothing but fashion accessories. The japanese bikes are better in every objective criteria.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by oledoody ( 794438 )
        Apple is not even on the entire 100 list. What's with that. Apple has to be in the top ten.
  • No way! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:34PM (#22894862)
    You mean, they put out a new version of their main product, it was widely ridiculed, and their brand suffered as a result? Who would have guessed!?
    • Re:No way! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by value_added ( 719364 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:44PM (#22895042)
      You mean, they put out a new version of their main product, it was widely ridiculed, and their brand suffered as a result? Who would have guessed!?

      Well, the article suggest there are more possible reasons than the one you cited, but speaking of suffering, I'll offer up my own jab to add to the fun: No Recession at Red Hat []. Maybe not a recognised brand name around the kitchen table, but somebody's noticing.
    • Re:No way! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by djrobxx ( 1095215 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @02:59PM (#22896892)
      I think Microsoft's problems run much deeper than just Vista. Microsoft has completely lost sight of how to create innovative products that people enjoy using. When they can't seem to innovate, they backtrack and try to compete with existing products. Only it takes them so long the thing they're competing with becomes deeply entrenched in the market and has become a de-facto standard. Examples: TiVo and UltimateTV. iPod and Zune. It surprises me that XBox has done as well as it has. Microsoft has been in the mobile phone business for over 5 years. They've had all this time to refine PocketPC/Windows CE as a phone OS. Still, I don't know anyone who really loves Windows Mobile. It's functional but clunky. Yet Apple comes along and takes their first stab at a phone, it's a smash hit with people overall. Vista is just another example of how Microsoft just "doesn't get it". They keep changing things around in ways that just aren't better, especially for less technical people. They keep taking their common "standardized" UI elements away from their applications. That goes for other products too. The most basic UI staple - the menu bar, is now missing from Internet Explorer 7 and Word 2007 amongst others. i really used to be a fan of Microsoft's products, but not so much anymore.
  • by Facetious ( 710885 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:35PM (#22894872) Journal
    Today's forecast calls for light showers with a high chance of flying chairs. Seriously, though, I used to doubt the power of "branding," but the more I learn about the average consumer (disappointing as it may be), the more I understand why companies care about this kind of thing.
    • by agent_no.82 ( 935754 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:10PM (#22895392) Journal
      Branding == Reputation. In that manner, it is absolutely essential that a brand be strong. You can do it through heavy advertising, or just by having a quality product.

      Example: When you think "car" you should think "Honda." When you think "Honda" you should remember how your last one ran for 13 years before you couldn't stand it anymore and sold it, how it handled well, etc. (Not to promote the Honda brand, but I know someone this actually happened to, and he bought a new Honda.)
      • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:31PM (#22895718) Homepage Journal

        Branding == Reputation.
        Not quite. Reputation is one component of branding, yes. There's also qualities such as name or brand recognition (do consumers recognize your brand when they see it?), and brand association (what attributes to consumers associate with your brand?) and brand differentiation (how is your brand different from your competitors brands in the eyes of the consumer?)

        People don't always necessarily go for quality. If that were the case, McDonald's and a bunch of other businesses that turn out what are essentially low-quality, cheap or just plain mediocre products would be out of business.

        Some people want a brand because it represents an attitude -- like I'm different. Think of Apple's Think Different campaign. People bought Macs just to be different -- they didn't care about features in the OS or available software, they just wanted a different kind of computer.

        In the end the average Joe Sixpack buys what he finds familiar. He doesn't make buying decisions based on facts or critical thinking or anything related to clear, precise, logical thought. Kinda scary when you think about it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jellomizer ( 103300 )
        heavy Advertising doesn't always equate to a good reputation. It will help to an extent where people know your name and products and perhaps some trust that you are not a fly by night operation. But after that level it is up to product quality. The same for the reverse you can have an excelent quality product but without anyone knowing about it no one will buy it. You need a good product and the right amount of advertising to make a good brand image.

        Microsoft had relitivly good quality products in the pas
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 )
      Or maybe you're looking in the wrong places. With everything that's important to you, you have fanbois (it's got the right logo, buy buy buy!) and factoholics (plenty reviews, knows everything about the product beforehand). But what about the rest? I've found I'm far more of a brand animal when it comes to things I don't know much about, that are uninteresting, unimportant or very complex.

      For example, I recently decided I needed a good flashlight. What popped into my head? Maglite. Don't know where it came
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:35PM (#22894878) Journal
    I have a friend who got a Macbook the other day. She said it was really awesome. I was trying to figure out why she liked it so much, but when I asked her she said, "everything is so easy to use!"

    That seemed a little strange to me, since it usually takes a little while to get used to a new interface. Then she said, "My boss and coworkers are so jealous."

    That's how you know Apple has turned the corner. When suddenly random people can become cool for owning a Mac. Compare that to a few years ago, my brother mentioned in his university classes he was the only one who had a Mac, and people gave him strange looks. You had to actively go against the flow to get an Apple in those days. Now the flow is starting to head in that direction.

    (Heads off to buy more Apple stock).
    • by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:52PM (#22895140) Homepage

      (Heads off to buy more Apple stock).

      While I acknowledge others' pervious predictions of rough sailing ahead for Apple have generally not come to reality (since the return of Jobs), your tale leads me in the opposite direction.

      It reminds of the story of Joe Kennedy knowing it was time to get out of the stock market when he was getting stock tips from the shoe shine boy. Part of Apple's appeal was its status as an outsider. Random people can't become cool for owning a Mac; the point of being cool is you're not just another random person.

      With apologies to Yogi, are we reaching a point where no one will buy an Apple because everyone's buying Apple?

      • by The End Of Days ( 1243248 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:00PM (#22895246)

        the point of being cool is you're not just another random person
        That's the nerd definition, perhaps, which makes sense considering it's a culture that celebrates the love of obscurity and shunning anything anyone else likes.

        The reality is, being cool is about being cool. Can't be defined. Any attempts to do so peg you as uncool, and you'll probably never know why.
      • by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:11PM (#22895398)

        Unlikely. Apple only owns about 14% of the laptop market right now. Just look at the iPod - initially it certainly did impart some coolness on its owners, but in the end it simply became a hip commodity item, like driving a hybrid.

        Until we see another company as consumer-savvy as Apple come along as the next underdog chic electronics manufacturer, I think Apple's position is pretty safe.

        As a Mac user I can only see the pattern continue. The Mac has seen an explosion of popularity ever since the Intel switch (the best move ever, really), and that has started to remove the main weakness of the platform: lack of software. Many app developers are now clamoring to port apps to the Mac, and most encouragingly a lot of open source projects now have stable Mac ports as well. As the software barrier becomes removed it will only become easier to switch to the Mac.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by somersault ( 912633 )
          'only' 14%? Against Dell, HP, Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo, etc? And running a completely different OS by default no less. Wow.

          Only: "merely: and nothing more;"

          It's a bit more than 'only'. I've always liked Macs since the late 80s. I kind of detested how it took the iPod to get them into the mainstream, but I like the halo effect that it had anyway. I now only use Windows at work and 100% of my time outside of work is spent in Mac OS. I've just got a PS3 today, and have had a Wii for the last couple of ye
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 )
        Oh wow, there is so much more to being cool than differentiation. The truth is, random people CAN be cool. The real world isn't like high school where people are divided up into "cool" and "not cool." That's so lame. In the real world, trying to make other people think you're better than them is NOT cool, it's weak. In the real world, making fun of the 'dumb' kids isn't cool, it's messed up.

        Coolness is about being yourself, respecting other people, and not getting pushed around. It's about learning h
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rolfwind ( 528248 )
        Who cares about being cool, I'm not spending that type of money on a Mac for that.

        I get or recommend it for family so I don't have to sit there and fix anything when I visit. Or take calls after work.

        Sure, I could install Ubuntu (and do for people with PCs) but that leaves me with the headache of installing printers sometimes. And forget All-In-Ones. With a Mac, there are ready made solutions which most people want.

        I can't the number of times I had to reinstall Windows XP on this damned machine over the
    • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:16PM (#22895448)
      in 2007 Apple were the number 5 laptop vendor pushing Lenovo (Thinkpad) off the number 5 spot. They're doing OK.
  • Wha? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Clovis42 ( 1229086 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:36PM (#22894884)
    Can someone explain what "brand power" is, and how you can possibly measure it? I know that "branding" is important, but ranking companies by "brand power" seems like useless information being created by "CoreBrand". I'm guessing CoreBrand didn't make it very high on the list themselves...
    • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Informative)

      by antikaos ( 1166401 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:42PM (#22895006)
      From TFA "CoreBrand measures brand power using four criteria. It first rates the familiarity of a company's brand. Once a company has a certain level of familiarity, they are ranked according to three "attributes of favorability": overall reputation, perception of management and investment potential..."
    • I think you're asking about brand equity [].

      There are many ways to measure a brand. Some measurements approaches are at the firm level, some at the product level, and still others are at the consumer level.

      Firm Level: Firm level approaches measure the brand as a financial asset. In short, a calculation is made regarding how much the brand is worth as an intangible asset. For example, if you were to take the value of the firm, as derrived by its market capitalization - and then subtract tangible assets and "

      • Using the "Product Level" approach to above, does that fact that comparing the cost of MS products to the cost of *nix systems (free) mean that MS's entire worth is in its brand?

        And if so, does that mean that MS is severely underestimating the potential effects blemishes will have on their name/brand and thus worth? I know that MS's entire worth to me as disappeared for this very reason.

        Sorry for the disjointed posts (I guess I wasn't done with original thought).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PPH ( 736903 )

      The way it has been explained to me "brand power" is the value that consumers attach to a brand name in lieu of actually judging a product based on its attributes.

      Apple has high brand value (for example) because people associated its name with a certain level of quality, ease of use, intuitive user interfaces, etc. Sure, ACME Computer Co could build a product every bit as good as Apple. You could put an ACME and an Apple laptop next to each other and, after extensive testing, come to the conclusion that

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      IMHO, brand power is the premium that consumer is willing to pay for the use of the brand. This premium is the result of real and perceived value. A common example is gas. Many people will pay more for Shell or Chevron rather than the minor or no name gas.

      Another common example is the sharp loss brand for home products with the advent of the power of Walmart. Consumer seem much less willing to pay more for laundry detergent just because it is advertised on TV. Such brands are now must differentiate b

  • corebrand? (Score:5, Funny)

    by or_is_it ( 1123093 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:38PM (#22894932)
    corebrand? never heard of em'
  • No suprise... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZenDragon ( 1205104 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:39PM (#22894942)

    In my opinion they need to stop trying to take over the internet and look internally to focus and improve their core product lines. The release of vista and its lack of acceptance in the business sector was a huge blow to their reputation. I personally am aware of several VERY large companies that were considering Vista a year ago and have completely turned 180 degrees towards open source. I dont know how far MS thinks they are going to get by forcing Vista down the corporate throat.

    Im not a microsoft hater, in fact I depend on MS products to make a living, but I know Im not alone on this sentiment.

    • Re:No suprise... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Temujin_12 ( 832986 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:07PM (#22895350)
      IMO, MS lost its direction when they became entirely marketing/business/lawyer driven instead of engineering driven. If they dumped the power hungry upper echelons (Balmer I'm looking at you) and started actually making engineering decisions (maybe even sound ones) they could turn things around.

      By way of anecdote, being a developer in Seattle you will inevitably work with other who have at one point or another worked at MS. One common thread I've heard (as a developer in the Peugeot Sound) is that the MS company culture is severely dysfunctional (ie: many meetings and decisions are nothing but a contest to see who can position themselves for the next raise/promotion). At first I thought this was a given as these developers, program managers, and executives are EX-employees (if they liked it they would have stayed). However, the universality of their experiences combined with the complaining of those I know who still work at MS makes me believe there's merit to their comments.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by houghi ( 78078 )

        IMO, MS lost its direction when they became entirely marketing/business/lawyer driven instead of engineering driven.
        OK, I agree and we can even date when that happend February 3, 1976 []
  • by Rod Beauvex ( 832040 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:39PM (#22894944)
    Microsfot has forgotten, like many other corporations, is that all one needs to focus on is making a quality product. If you do that, all other things, quartely earnings, shareholder returns, marketing, ect, will take care of themselves natually.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trongey ( 21550 )

      Microsfot has forgotten, like many other corporations, is that all one needs to focus on is making a quality product. If you do that, all other things, quartely earnings, shareholder returns, marketing, ect, will take care of themselves natually.
      That explains why Apple is on the list and McDonalds isn't. Oh, wait, it's the other way around.
    • by z80kid ( 711852 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:20PM (#22895514)
      Microsfot has forgotten, like many other corporations, is that all one needs to focus on is making a quality product.


      Seriously - at the risk of sounding like a basher - has Microsoft ever produced a product where they focused on providing better quality than the competition?

      I've known many people who have purchased Microsoft products for compatibility with existing infrastructure (basically vendor lock-in). I've never personally known anyone who has bought a Microsoft product because they perceived it as having more features, being easier to use, or being more stable than competing products.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by barzok ( 26681 )

        Seriously - at the risk of sounding like a basher - has Microsoft ever produced a product where they focused on providing better quality than the competition?
        Plenty of times. But only until they beat the competition, at which point they get complacent and either don't make improvements, or start turning out crappy "upgrades."
      • I have (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @02:12PM (#22896268) Journal
        Actually, I have. Sad as that may sound.

        E.g., when some people I knew switched the whole company from WordPerfect to MS Word, much against my zealotry at the time. The fact is, the first attempts at WP For Windows sucked hairy donkey balls. Word might not have been a shiny gold nugget, but compared to WP it was at least like polished lead compared to a turd.

        E.g., Windows itself gained a lot of market share fast back in the day, because the 386 version was pretty much the only thing that combined (A) preemptive multitasking, at least for legacy apps, (B) a GUI, unpolished as that might have been, and (C) compatibility with those legacy apps. And maybe (D) a price you can actually afford, as opposed to buying an ultra-expensive, and just as proprietary, Unix for that PC. There have been other attempts at one of the three, but they typically missed the other two.

        Yes, I know, _nowadays_ Linux exists which fits all the bills and is a viable choice and all. But back then the competition actually had worse products than MS, sad as that may sound. Who was better than Windows? GEM with its max 4 windows and no support for using memory over 640k? The text-mode-only task-switching of DesqView? (Even DesqView/X was too little, too late. Way too late.) OS/2? Heh. Trust me, I used all those, I even was an OS/2 fanboy at one point, but looking back, I can see how Windows won on its own merits back then.

        The last genuine competitor to Windows was IBM's OS/2, and even that was a sad story. For a start it was a story of corporate schizophrenia, where half of IBM didn't want to use or sell the OS that the other half created and/or endorsed. But it was also a story of IBM ignoring the users' grievances. Year after year people complained that a single mis-behaved or crashed application can lock up the common event queue, and thus the whole computer. And year after year IBM stuck to its guns that that's the right way to do things, and generally STFU you bloody user. It was a story of such fuck-ups as IBM launching a version of OS/2 with much fanfare, and then discovering that if you were upgrading from a previous version, it would fuck up the config so badly that your newly installed OS wouldn't boot. (Or not make it to the desktop.) It was a story of IBM developer suport being non-existent. Much as we laugh at "Uncle Fester" Balmer's developers dance on the stage, it was a whole other message than IBM's. IBM at felt a lot more like "fuck off and stop trying to steal the market for our own apps for OS/2." Etc. And IBM lost. Why? Because, bloody sad as it sounds, their stuff was actually worse than MS's.

        E.g., I remember being one of the last Netscape fanboys in a world which was quickly going IE, and Netscape's Mozilla team had gone in dada land for years reinventing skinned widget libraries instead of making a browser. The fact that everyone kept pointing out was that IE was head and shoulders above the buggy (and rapidly getting outdated) mess that was Nescape 4.x. Both being free, people preferred the MS one as (subjectively) better.


        I can even tell you the mistake you're making. You're seeing just the years after they became a monopoly, and when they actually could push people to buy just for compatibility sake. But you forget their years of actually fighting uphill in those markets. Before you could have people telling each other "get Word already because we all have it", you first have to convince enough people to ditch WordStar and WordPerfect, _in_ _spite_ of the fact that everyone else has them.

        Don't get me wrong, that doesn't excuse MS's monopolistic tactics or anything. That's not what I'm saying. But I'm saying you first have to have enough of a foothold before you can apply them. MS's monopoly isn't based on just one thing, it's an interlocking porcupine of pieces which need each other. It only starts working at all after you have at least a few such pieces which are the de-facto standard. And there must have been _some_ merit involved in getting at least those ramm
    • by mikael ( 484 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:22PM (#22895552)
      Microsoft's strategy has always been to bundle everything together, so no product ever really had to survive on its own. Bundle Windows 3.0 with MS-DOS. Bundle the internet browser with the OS and make it part of the desktop. Bundle Windows 95/99/NT/XP/Vista with new PC's being sold. Bundle Microsoft Word with Excel and Powerpoint, and so on...

      Five years ago, a corporate environment had to use Microsoft word for creating documents and Outlook Express to send/receive E-mail. Now, you can use OpenOffice or PDF files to exchange documents, and use any type of client to send/receive E-mail.

      Nobody would really want to buy each item individually when they could get the equivalent applications from the open source community.
    • by DrBuzzo ( 913503 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:29PM (#22895692) Homepage
      Yeah that is definately true. This is especially the case with an operating system. The operating system does not need to have a well-featured photo organizer, a media player with built-in internet radio browser, music store, cd burning, skinning, visuals and so on. An operating system, first and foremost must do a good job at resource management, thread management, process control. It needs to be stable, effecient, secure.

      Microsoft has gone for "more features" over "better quality." The result is very dramatic code bloat and the fact that their software is slower, larger than it needs to be. There seems to be a belief in a lot of software design that "computers are fast now so we don't need to be effecient" that's not true at all. An inefficiently program on a fast computer might still be usable, but an effecient program will be lightning fast, it won't bog down or skip a beat even when you have three or four things running. This is critical for the operating system and always will be.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Yeah that is definately true. This is especially the case with an operating system. The operating system does not need to have a well-featured photo organizer, a media player with built-in internet radio browser, music store, cd burning, skinning, visuals and so on. An operating system, first and foremost must do a good job at resource management, thread management, process control. It needs to be stable, effecient, secure.

        From an engineer's perspective this is absolutely true. From a typical consumer's p
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:56PM (#22896090) Homepage

      Microsfot has forgotten, like many other corporations, is that all one needs to focus on is making a quality product.

      I'm not convinced Microsoft ever knew that - at least not in the way you mean it.

      Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure at some levels there are people trying to ensure that it is, in fact, a quality product -- at least as much as it can be.

      But, Microsoft has always been focused on making sure you buy their products, no matter what. They managed to get IBM to make it mandatory, then it became the de-facto standard, then it took a lawsuit to try to be able to buy a PC which MS wasn't paid for. They've not been above strong-arming people and saying that you must do it on our terms, or not at all.

      Their entire corporate strategy has been to try to push out competitors by making them not work with their stuff, and try to make sure that top to bottom you use their stuff for everything you do.

      Microsoft has never truly been interested in competing purely on the quality and merit of their products. They have always had an evangelical position that essentially said "we're good, we're getting better, stick with us and keep paying us, and eventually we'll deliver something which does what we promised the last version would do". And, they're not above a little deception to do it.

      And, quite frankly, Microsoft has never had to compete purely on quality. They started off with an unfair advantage, translated that into an assload of cash, and then they used that to get themselves further entrenched.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jollyreaper ( 513215 )

      Microsfot has forgotten, like many other corporations, is that all one needs to focus on is making a quality product. If you do that, all other things, quartely earnings, shareholder returns, marketing, ect, will take care of themselves natually.

      Not quite, and that's the bitch of the matter. Having a good product is maybe three-quarters of the battle but then there's all of the political bullshit that can still sink a great idea. You do need Marketing to cut through that crap, you do need schmoozing, and a lack of these kind of soft skills can see a company fail. But by striking this very faustian deal, the company is doomed. Marketing is no longer the necessary evil in the organization, it metastasizes becomes the prime evil that infects every pa

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dpilot ( 134227 )
      1. Take care of your customers.
      2. Take care of your workers.
      3. The profits will take care of themselves.

      T.J.Watson, Jr.
  • Interesting.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idaho ( 12907 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:40PM (#22894962)
    Microsoft may be down quite a bit, but Apple is not even on that list at all.

    IBM is at spot #18, which is quite surprising really - as far as I noticed there are no other software companies that high on the list at all. Most of the top 25 seems to be car companies, food/drinks/restaurant franchises and the like.
    • Microsoft may be down quite a bit, but Apple is not even on that list at all.

      Which is hard to believe, given that people are referring to generic MP3 players as "iPods" nowadays.

      IBM ... well, for a couple of generations those three letters were synonymous with "computer" for most people. That's runs pretty deep, I think.
    • Apple is technically an appliance manufacturer and not a software manufacturer. Alot of people confuse this. Sure they make computers and they make software that runs on ONLY their computers but thats why they are considered an appliance manufacturer and not software manufacturer. Probably why they are not on the list else they would be #1 as they have a very strong brand.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
      The list is what a few business people think about various brands. It is not a "brand-power" list. Surveying some business leaders might be a reasonable way to rank brands like UPS and FedEx, that primarily provide business services, but it's not going to give you a good read the majority of brands, which are targeted towards the general public. I don't know how Campbell's Soup and Colgate got on there.
  • Nothing like discussing abstract features of companies to start a discussion. Other than to say "Ha ha, Starbucks is better than Microsoft!"

    Ah well. Given Vista, Windows security issues, and Apple's consistent attempts to sell their computers to the high-school and college-age markets, I wouldn't be surprised if this was just a reflection of more and more Macheads entering the workforce and staying loyal to Apple, or Windows users expressing their disgust at Microsoft. Many (most?) middle-aged people think
  • Brand Dilution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bskin ( 35954 ) <bentomb AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:42PM (#22895012)
    I'm sure unfavorable reception to Vista doesn't help, but it's not like MS hasn't weathered that before. (ME anyone?) I would suspect brand dilution is more to blame, as they branch out more and more. At one point, people might just have thought of their software, but now there's a whole slew of different products that may bring their reputation down. Users who prefer the iPod to the Zune, or the Wii to the Xbox 360, or now see Google as the big cheese in the online world may all have a less favorable impression of MS as a whole.
    • Re:Brand Dilution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:57PM (#22895206) Journal
      The difference between Vista and ME is that now people have a choice. Back then Linux was too hard to use, too hard to even find out about. Apple was a has-been, and OS2 had made a good attempt, but clearly failed. Also, for those who complained too much, there was Windows 2000/NT, so there was enough goodness coming out of Microsoft to keep people happy.
      Now, on the other hand, Apple is cool, Linux is for sale at Dell and Walmart, people realize that Windows XP isn't too bad, and there is no great potential for a new OS in the pipeline from Microsoft(as there was with win2000). Yeah, there's Windows 7.....don't hold your breath). Their brand power was good, now it's getting bad. The winds of change are in the air from a lot of different company can hold a monopoly forever, it is destiny that there will be a change. The only question is when.
      • Actually, one thing I remember about ME in comparison to Vista, is that it didn't last all that long (even MS dropped it somewhat like a hot rock), and that the previous options (win98) were still supported, followed not too long after by a somewhat worthy successor (win2k and, eventually, winXP). I know only a few people who had machines come with ME, and when those machines screwed up, 98 still worked.

        Vista is different, as there is a lack of choice in the MS realm. If you want to run software that runs
  • Who? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:44PM (#22895034) Homepage Journal
    Are these guys still around? I remember using a BASIC interpreter of theirs in the early 1980s.
  • 2018 (Score:5, Funny)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:44PM (#22895040) Journal
    IBM suffered a much faster and more severe decline in brand power in the early 1990s and it took them 10 years to rebuild the brand's reputation.

    So, Microsoft ought to be selling a decent version of Windows by 2018?
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:45PM (#22895048) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft comments on their branding decline in Sharp Consumer Electronic products.
      Saying " our Products sales are doing so well that we can drop Sharp Consumer Electronics from our certified MS OEM's list.
  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:46PM (#22895074)

    The CEO of CoreBrand said: 'When you see something decline with increasing velocity, it's a concern.'
    Wow. Thanks for that flash of nuclear-bright insight, Mr. Hawking.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dpilot ( 134227 )
      Unless of course your company makes ICBMs. Then you *like* to see them go down with increasing velocity, after boost and glide, of course.
  • Obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:47PM (#22895084)
    "When you see something decline with increasing velocity, it's a concern". Especially when it's a chair making its way down from office building above you.
  • FB (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Himring ( 646324 )
    "Oh, everyone likes their own brand, don't they?" --Fat Bastard
  • Couldn't have happened to a nicer power-hungry, scheming, ruthlessly amoral company devoted to tearing down anything that it doesn't own.
  • [from the mid 1990's] it took [IBM] years to rebuild the brand's reputation

    So, Microsoft's decline started around, they'll be back in the top five by 2014. I'll be installing "Windows Server 2010" by 2014, and testing "SQL Server 2013" to replace my "SQL Server 2008" which I'd been running since 2010.
  • A large part of IBM's decline was because their sales of mainframes to other countries slowed down as smaller, more powerful computers came around.
  • by Techguy666 ( 759128 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:06PM (#22895342)
    From the TFA:

    Among its peers in the category of Computers, Peripherals and Computer Software, Microsoft is second to IBM in brand power, with Toshiba a close third, Gregory said. If Microsoft's downward trend continues, Toshiba could pass it in brand power next year, he said.

    I'm an educator and work with kids (and some university students) all day. Ask anyone aged 10-25 what Microsoft is known for and they'll say Xbox (or Xbox 360). Sit kids in front of a Mac and they'll start messing with it; sit kids in front of a Windows box and they'll start messing with that. They don't "see" the operating system or the cognitive dissonance of the Office ribbon... They're still platform agnostic. And Microsoft is counting on that.

    We associate Microsoft with "Computers, Peripherals and Computer Software", we hate their stuff, and we take glee in the decline of the Evil Empire that brought us Windows, IE, and OOXML. If I were to be associated with the Vista debacle and ActiveX exploits forever, I'd want my brand to die, too!

    Don't be fooled by the article however, Microsoft still has the mindshare of future consumers - they're the cool company that brought us the Xbox, Xbox Live, and the Halo franchise... In another 20 years, wouldn't you want to buy technology from the guys who brought you all the great memories from your childhood??

    Apple went from a declining "Computers, Peripherals and Computer Software" company to a hot mainstream company, and used the iPod halo effect to come back into their old, failed "Computers, Peripherals and Computer Software" market, hotter than ever. Microsoft is simply stealing a page from Apple and guaranteeing its survival for the next 20 years, when the Xbox gamers of today take their turn at being CIOs and CTOs.

  • MSN (Score:4, Interesting)

    by antikaos ( 1166401 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:07PM (#22895348)
    I wonder if this is less a matter of Microsoft Vs. Apple, or the lack of quality in Vista, but more a matter of MSN Vs. Google
  • Don't forget that part of IBM's brand recovery was a fundamental shift in their core business to focus a lot more on services and software solutions rather than hardware, and they've still never managed to recover their former ubiquity.
  • Is brand power & losing sleep over whether your corporate executive idol is the master of the universe as important in other countries as it is in US?
  • by Whuffo ( 1043790 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:41PM (#22895868) Homepage Journal
    Having a strong dislike for Microsoft is nothing new around here; we've seen their products and practices up close for years. It's only now that the media is discovering what we've known all along.

    The problem with Microsoft isn't Vista or Clippy or XBOX360; those less-than-good products are just the result of the arrogance that runs through everything they do. They've turned out a few good products, too.

    If you need to point a finger at them, how about pointing at - well, how about their anti-trust conviction? Did you notice how they changed their ways after this conviction? No? That's what's wrong with Microsoft. It's the anti-competitive way they insure that every new computer has Windows installed. It's the anti-competitive way they bundle other products. It's all the companies who were crushed by Microsoft - but not before Microsoft "liberated" the intellectual property from those doomed companies.

    How about their shrink-wrap license agreements that they use to bind you - but if you disagree and try to use the remedy they've provided (return product for refund) you'll find that's virtually impossible to do? How about the way they're currently trying to subvert the ISO standardization process?

    Remember when XP went out the door with a list of 50,000 bugs still unresolved? They're still sticking band-aids on it - but rather than complete that product they're off to yet another (arguably less functional) product which was also rushed out long before it was ready.

    For those who want to defend this miserable excuse for a software company, here's a question for you: name 10 technologies that Microsoft has shipped that were invented in-house by Microsoft.

    • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @02:28PM (#22896482) Journal
      I disagree. I think that outside of certain circles of the tech industry, the majority of people out there don't really give a crap about the anti-trust stuff anymore, never gave a crap about shrink-wrap licenses, or ISO processes, etc.

      I think it has more to do with the fact that MS consistently shipped mediocre software, and that fact caught up with them in two ways. First off the internet allowed people to become more educated on alternatives, allowing things like Linux and Apple to gain a small amount of mindshare (which is slowly turning into marketshare), and the internet also exposed Windows to a very "dangerous" environment, and Microsoft was not prepared for all the problems that it caused.

      MS has seemed to get a halfway decent handle on the security issues, I haven't seen many news reports about huge global systems being suddenly taken down by worms anymore, and while my mom's computer still manages to get malware on it, it's not rendered unuseable every 6 weeks anymore. But people remember those problems, and those problems were enough of a headache that they got they started looking at some alternatives.

      Prior to the internet becoming such a major part of the computing landscape, MS could put out whatever crap they wanted, and nobody really knew any better. The internet served both to expose a lot of those flaws, and at the same time it empowered people, or at least made it significantly easier for them to share their issues and look for solutions. Unfortunately for Microsoft, some of those solutions involve Linux/MacOS/other non-microsoft software.

  • worthless (Score:4, Interesting)

    by youngdev ( 1238812 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:44PM (#22895918)
    I'd like to point out that this study is pretty much worthless. I like to hate Ms as much as the next guy but this study shows a slippage against other brands *IN OTHER INDUSTRIES*. This is comparing Microsoft and Coke? WTF. Maybe some of these other brands surged in popularity. Or maybe computer industry in general is viewed less favorably. This would be much more useful if it was focused a specific industry.
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:52PM (#22896032) Homepage Journal
    how Microsoft refuses to play well with others. That is my biggest beef with them on a corporate level. We are currently trying to integrate a few windows machines into our all mac/linux network, and it is painful. There are all sorts of "security policies" that need to be fiddled with because they aren't the same, XP gets upset if you have more than one domain controller on different domains it seems, and it doesn't even support NFS....NFS a protocol that will be celebrating its 20th birthday next year, isn't supported by Windows XP. Can you name me one other major PC operating system that doesn't support NFS out of the box? Any Mac box can be an NFS server or client, ditto for Linux, BSD, Solaris etc. But since it wasn't invented at Microsoft Microsoft doesn't consider it to be important, esp. since they could use their lack of NFS support to get you to buy a Microsoft server product that does the same thing but isn't nearly as secure.

    SSH, LDAP, etc. the list of technologies that almost every other OS on the planet supports but XP doesn't(I don't know about Vista, but it's not like XP is that old). Microsoft's client OSs seem to have features that try to force you into buying Microsoft server OSs. Samba is great, and I certainly don't want to denigrate the brilliant people who write the stuff, but it shouldn't be necessary. Maybe back in 1996, when most business networks outside the megacorps consisted of a dumb hub with very little centralized management Windows wasn't all that bad, but the problem for Redmond is that the rest of the world moved on and they didn't. They still seem to think its a Microsoft only world, but the rest of the world thinks differently.
  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @02:48PM (#22896740)

    Microsoft almost seem to have given up on their PC products. They are churning out latest versions of Office and Windows in order to keep milking their core consumers, but their heart doesn't seem to be in it anymore. Its more like rent-seeking than software development for them now. They seem to have bought their own carefully crafted image of immortality and become complacent.

    They just haven't cottoned on to the essential change in peoples perceptions of computers since the last time they fucked up good and proper (Windows ME). You used to talk to non-technical people and they would complain about how computers are too slow and computers are always getting viruses and crashing and computers always need reformatting. Now that the majority of the population have been shown there are computers that don't suffer nearly so badly from those issues, they are more and more talking about how windows always gets viruses, crashes and needs reinstalling. The crappiness of windows is no longer assumed to be just a general feature of computers that users have to live with.

    The Xbox line seems still pretty strong though, with a certain demographic of gamers (I won't be too insulting seeing as I imagine a lot of the people here own an Xbox or Xbox 360, but my image of the average Halo player does involve a sideways baseball cap). In fact I think it is strong enough to keep Microsoft afloat and in the public mind no matter what happens to windows/office. Whether or not they can make an apple-like comeback and re-enter the OS market if Windows 7 doesn't miraculously save them, remains to be seen.

  • a = dv/dt (Score:3, Funny)

    by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @02:53PM (#22896814)
    'When you see something decline with increasing velocity, it's a concern.'

    No, it's called gravity!
  • by webmaster404 ( 1148909 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:18PM (#22898244)
    This is a MS marketing ploy that has managed to devalue the brand and that is word assumptions. For example, when DOS came out it was referred to as "DOS", then it merged into PC, PC became Computer, now what was once DOS problems are now computer problems, the same thing happened to Windows, Windows problems became computer problems, OS became Windows editions, word processor became Word, E-Mail became Outlook and until recently Browser used to be IE. By MS having a monopoly, these simple words that without a monopoly would be broad definitions became un-trademarkable words, making the MS brand obsolete, which is why Apple can stick either Apple or i in front of anything and it will sell because Apple avoided that, OS != OS X Mac != PC (and because that is a computer with most MS users, it makes Macs referred to as Macs, not just computers) and it also is why MS can't make Zune or Xbox make a profit.

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.