​Microsoft bets begin to pay off as iconic Apple brand comes under threat

“Over the past year we have watched Microsoft’s success in devices poking holes in Apple's walls with their tablet and wearables offerings.”

The consumer electronics market is dominated by Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung.

This is nothing new, neither is news that Apple is leading the pack with its thriving ecosystem and refined hardware offerings.

But such dominance may be about to change following recent industry findings, which notes that Microsoft’s delight measure has been growing over the last nine months and is now a strong number two.

Collating feedback of over 942,000 consumer reviews from January - September, 2015, Argus Insights’ ‘Battle of the Brands’ report details the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular offerings from these major brands.

Unsurprisingly, Apple continues to delight consumers more than the other brands due to their focus on an integrated user experience, while Google Nexus devices and the Amazon Fire TV Stick fail to delight consumers despite the strong positioning of their service offerings.

Perhaps most crucially however, Microsoft appears ripe to disrupt Apple’s hold across markets with increasingly impactful smartphones, fitness band, and Surface tablets while Samsung has been especially hard hit by the most recent iPhone launch.

“Apple has created a Walled Garden with its all-star mix of hardware and software,” says John Feland, CEO, Argus Insights.

“But over the past year we have watched Microsoft’s success in devices poking holes in Apple's walls with their tablet and wearables offerings.

“Unlike Google and Amazon, which offer inexpensive hardware offerings meant to entice more consumers to visit their gardens more often, Microsoft has focused on crafting new experiences built on solid hardware that is delighting consumers.

“Samsung, without a strong content play, is just leasing space in the gardens of other brands.”

Feland says the new report details buzz and delight by product segment for each brand specifically, and details demand projections in the form of Demand Scorecards for each brand’s most popular products as of September 2015.

Highlights from the Brand Deep Dives in the report show that smart home offerings like SmartThings from Samsung or Nest from Google are dragging down consumer brand perceptions - only the Amazon Echo is adding to a brand’s balance of social capital.

“Early analysis of the iPhone 6S launch finds that consumer demand of the 6S line is lower than that of the iPhone 6 from September 2014,” Feland adds.

“This is unlikely to have a significant impact on their Q3 earnings given pent up demand.”

For Feland, Samsung is failing to delight users across multiple fronts and has seen a significant drop as a result of the new iPhones launched in September.

“While Google owns Android ecosystem, their branded Nexus hardware just delivers ‘good enough’ to consumers, a bar being raised by Microsoft and Apple,” Feland adds.

But while Microsoft is closing the gap at the top, Feland claims that Apple still attracts the happiest consumers, while Google products are causing disappointment.

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