Distrust for Windows Could Help Apple

A new report out by market research firm Forrester suggests that Apple could double its market share through defections from the Windows platform alone. The firm said that much of this has to do with customers' deep distrust of Microsoft.

Apple, along with TiVo, was the only company whose brand trust increased in the last two years. Consumers trust technology brands like Bose, Dell, Sony, Panasonic, and Hewlett-Packard the most, while Toshiba, Hitachi, Gateway, and LG joined Microsoft at the bottom.

"Trust is a powerful way to measure a brand's value and its ability to command a premium price or drive consumers into a higher-profit direct channel," said Forrester Vice President Ted Schadler. "A decline in trust causes brand erosion and price-driven purchase decisions, which in turn correlates with low market growth."

The report estimates that some 5.4 million households would say they distrust Microsoft either a lot or somewhat. Those most likely to answer in such a way have a higher income, are male, and spend more money online. If Apple gave these users a reason to switch and leave Microsoft behind, the company could double its market share, the firm speculated.

Such a reason could come in the form of Apple's Boot Camp. The upgrade for Intel-based Macs would allow for the dual-booting of Microsoft Windows along with the Mac OS X operating system. However, the report was released before the Cupertino company made the announcement, thus it is unclear if this would be enough of an impetus.

Still, the news is not completely rosy for Apple. Forrester said the public at large seems to fail to identify the iPod with the computer manufacturer. Only 5.2 million claim to use the Apple brand, even though the company has sold some 42 million players.

The firm recommended that Apple link the iPod to its main brand more strongly in advertising. Additionally, it should also emphasize that its pricing is more competitive, now that the lower priced Mac Mini is part of the company's lineup.

Forrester made such an assessment after looking at data that indicates those who wish to own Apple products have lower incomes and are less interested in technology that the company's normal user base.

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