Microsoft beat out the other tech names thanks to a high trust ranking among all age-groups. The brand also relied heavily on the "Essentials" category. While Apple is seen as providing high quality products that meet consumers' needs, Microsoft products are considered essential by the public. In addition, the new "One Microsoft" unified branding really seemed to connect with the American public, used to seeing unified branding with Apple. Tracey Stokes, the Forrester analyst in charge of taking the survey, said that the results were a surprise, and that if the survey had been conducted 12 to 18 months earlier, the results would have been different. That seemed to be a hint that Apple would have finished first previously.
Stokes added that Apple's problems resulted in its second place finish. Over the last year, the Cupertino based company has been perceived by the public as being unable to innovate. "Apple's lost a little bit of its [brand] luster," she said. Stokes did point out that Apple has been trying to touch consumer's emotions with its recent ads, and is trying to give off an appearance of luxury with its products.
While Microsoft had high rankings among all demographic groups, Apple and Samsung did well in younger demographics. The rivals scored the best among Millennials, those in the 25-33 age bracket.
source: ComputerWorld via WPCentral