Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is way ahead of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSDT) in terms of smartphone and tablet sales, but when it comes to trust, more American prefer the software giant over the iPhone maker, reveals a study conducted by research firm Forrester. The study ranked the brands on the basis of four criteria: trust, remarkable, unmistakable and essential. The survey covered 4,551 adults, who were each asked to rank the tech brands.

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Microsoft preferred by all age groups

According to the study, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the clear winner with a unique and distinct brand identity differentiating it from other tech brands. Microsoft was voted as the most trusted brand, while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung were found to be the most innovative. Apple was in second place followed by Sony and Samsung.

Microsoft received high brand rankings across every age group, while Apple and Samsung scored higher among younger age groups, particularly those aged 25 to 33.

According to UTA Brand Studio’s founder and executive director, Larry Vincent, people relate more to Microsoft as the company’s products are popular globally, while Apple is more like a prom king or queen, which appears beautiful, but not all people are able to connect with it.

Forrester analyst Tracy Stokes said, “We were surprised by the results, too,” and added, “Time was definitely a factor. I think the results would have been much different a year or 18 months earlier.”

Users do not see Apple and Samsung as essential

The scores of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung were very similar to those of Microsoft in three of the four categories, however, both the leading smartphones brand lagged in the Essentials category. According to Stokes, Apple manufactures products that are technologically superior and meets the needs of the users, but  users do not consider them as essential as those of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Stokes wrote in her report, “Apple was once emotionally essential, but as it loses its emotional hold, it won’t be able to win solely on utilitarian qualities.”

Forrester used the TRUE methodology, which measures brands’ strengths in various vertical markets. The study included 10 consumer technology firms: Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSDT), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Sony, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Given today’s world where the privacy of users is at stake, winning the most trusted brand title is more than just a matter of pride.