It appears that the English love Microsoft more than US consumers.

Two seperate research studies have produced two very different results. In the UK Microsoft had the strongest brand according to a study by market research firm Millward Brown.According to them Microsoft was a clear leader in the survey, with a global brand valued at more than $62m.

In the US the story is very different  a brand study by Forrester Research has found that Bose, Dell, and Apple Computer led the technology brands trusted by U.S. consumers while Microsoft came in dead last.

The US annual survey, noted Forrester analyst Ted Schadler, also showed an across-the-board drop in trust in personal computer and consumer electronics brands. “A decline in trust causes brand erosion and price-driven purchase decisions, which in turn correlates with low market growth,” said Schadler in a statement. Trust has declined each year since 2003, he added, with only Apple and TiVo, the latter now synonymous with digital video recorders, bucking the trend.

In the telephone survey of 4,700 American adults, Microsoft’s brand earned the overall 20th spot out of the 22 companies included in the poll, with its trust level in the cellar. “Microsoft faces big consumer defection risk,” the accompanying Forrester report on the survey read. Some 5.4 million households “know they run Microsoft software but would be just as happy to leave it behind — if they could.” The survey was taken in September and October 2005, long before Microsoft announced that its next Windows operating system, Vista, would not be released this year.

In the UK Millward Brown claimed that its new ranking system is unique in that it combines consumer research with public financial data and consumer expectations about a brand’s growth. The study also focuses on “market facing” brands as opposed to corporate brands.

“This is the first study that goes beyond financial data and ‘expert opinion’ to include in-market insights about a brand’s strengths and momentum from potential customers,” said Andy Farr, executive director at Millward Brown Optimor.

Joanna Seddon, global head of Millward Brown Optimor, added: “The best brands drive revenues and profits, reduce risk and cost of entry into new markets and attract talented staff to companies.”

The Top Ten, ranked in  the UK study in $ millions are:

Microsoft Corporation ($62,039)

GE ($55,834)

Coca-Cola ($41.406)

China Mobile ($39,168)

Marlboro cigarettes ($38,510)

Wal-Mart ($37,567)

Google ($37,445)

IBM ($38,084)

Citigroup ($31.028)


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