by Shane O'Neill

Surprise, Surprise: Microsoft Beats Apple in Consumer Survey

Nov 19, 2009
Data Center

In an unexpected turn, Microsoft products rank higher than Apple and Sony in a new consumer electronics survey.

It’s easy to assume that Apple is the greatest consumer electronics company in the known universe. But Mr. Jobs and company may be resting on their laurels these days, according to a new consumer electronics study.

The study, conducted by retail consulting firm Strategos and equities research firm wRatings, lists Apple as the number 10 most innovative consumer electronics company.

Surprisingly, Microsoft came in at number three behind LG and Nintendo. That’s right, Microsoft just beat Apple in a consumer satisfaction survey. Who woulda thunk it?

“As Microsoft has done across many products and now with the Zune HD, listening to customers and improving from early mistakes can lead to winning products,” says Peter Skarzynski, Managing Director at Strategos.

Slideshow: Windows 7 in Pictures: The Coolest New Hardware

“Innovation” has become a vague and overused marketing term. We all know the dictionary definition of innovation (the act of introducing something new, of being creative), but in the business and marketing world, it’s used as a general description of ingenuity and success (I think).

The Strategos/wRating study measured “innovation” by asking 2,100 consumers and business executives to rate consumer electronics companies’ products based on Usefulness, Quality, Simplicity, Coolness, Uniqueness, Variety and Competence.

The study cites that Microsoft’s Zune HD, though not a market share killer, and also the Xbox 360 gaming console scored high in all categories. The iPod and iPhone did not score as well, most likely because consumers are so used to Apple products, the study concludes. Overall, Microsoft had a score of 84.6, and Apple’s score was 82.0.

“Maybe Apple was hurt by its success — since iPods and iPhones are so mainstream, perhaps consumers don’t see them as unique anymore,” the study states. “Maybe other competitors have dramatically improved their innovation performance — indeed, the new Zune HD is cited as a far superior music player by many product reviewers.”

Multi-purpose electronics maker LG, which manufactures mobile phones, flat-screen TVs and computer monitors, was number one, followed by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. Other companies in the top 10 include Hitachi, Canon, Sharp and NetApp.

This is not the only disappointing ranking for Apple this week. In a similar study on laptop longevity based on 30,000 costumer experiences, Apple was fourth on the reliability scale behind Asus, Toshiba and Sony.

Shane O’Neill is a senior writer at Follow him on Twitter at Follow everything from on Twitter at