Can Microsoft Claw Back Lost Market Share From Apple?

Ad trackers at BrandIndex are suggesting that Microsoft's latest "Laptop Hunters" ad campaign allowed Microsoft to overtake Apple in value perception scores with the 18-to-35 age group. Could Microsoft, with the help of Windows 7, claw back lost market share from Apple?

Value perception score is an interesting metric because it represents how much value for money people think a brand represents. In late February Apple was riding high with a value perception score of 70, while Microsoft lagged with 29. However, in the period up to may 12th, Apple's score has eroded to 12 while Microsoft's is up to 46. What changed? Microsoft ran the "Laptop Hunter" ads.

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It seems that ads, as transparent as they are to to us geeks, has a very profound effect on viewers. For some years now the dominant influence has been Apple's "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads, but in the space of a few short weeks Microsoft's ads has dramatically shifted the balance of power. That said, I'm pretty sure the soggy economy helped too ...

Here's another thought. Has Apple concentrated too much on the iPod and the iPhone and allowed its image as a computer maker to diminish.

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Microsoft still needs to work on the 35- to 49-year-old group, where according to BrandIndex Apple managed to grab increase its value perception score to tie with Microsoft.

Now, here's a question. With Windows 7 just around the corner, could Microsoft start to claw back lost market from Apple? Well, if value perception actually has translated into sales (financial results from OEMs for the period above will show whether this is the case), then the hype surrounding the release of a new OS could help boost Microsoft's popularity. And if Windows 7 gets a warm reception then Microsoft could well be in a position to start chipping away at Apple's market share. That said, if consumers really are easily swayed by commercials, then a new campaign by Apple could turn things around quickly.

Thoughts?