Apple

APPLE IS NOT AMERICA’S FAVORITE TECH COMPANY

The era of the Apple fanboy may be coming to an end. According to a survey conducted by The Verge in partnership with consulting firm Reticle Research, Apple falls squarely in the middle among Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon when it comes to inspiring passion and trust in consumers. It came in behind Google in both categories, and far behind Amazon, which led in positive responses for pretty much every category respondents were asked about.

The survey, conducted from September 28th to October 10th, included 1,520 people nationally representative of the US, based on 2016 US Census estimates. The findings suggest that Apple, while still a massively influential force in the industry, engenders less positive feelings, and in some cases more explicitly negative ones.

When asked how much they enjoyed using a company’s products and services, Apple scored the lowest among the big five technology companies — Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft — in the category for both “somewhat liked” and “greatly liked.” Among those expressing negative sentiment, Apple scored better than Facebook, yet still lower than Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Sixty percent of respondents “greatly liked” Amazon’s products and services, while roughly 55 percent and 45 percent felt the same about Google and Microsoft, respectively.

On the topic of whether respondents would recommend Apple products and services to friends and family, the company again fell behind Google and Amazon, both of which garnered responses of either “somewhat likely” to “extremely likely” from more than 90 percent of survey participants. Apple, on the other hand, received similar responses for only about 80 percent of participants. The iPhone maker also came in second to last, ahead of only Facebook, in extreme negative sentiment, with 15 percent of participants saying they were “not at all likely” to recommend the company’s products.

On questions of perception, like trust, Apple was again stuck in the middle of the pack. Participants trusted Amazon the most, which is not all that surprising given its e-commerce store’s ubiquity and the company’s overall drive to provide more value for lower prices with Prime and other services. Yet participants trusted Apple less than even Google, a company with a primary business model of collecting consumer data for targeting advertisements.

More telling of the current consumer perception of Apple came in the categories of passion and societal impact. For passion, as measured by how much a participant would care if the company disappeared tomorrow, Apple came in last among the big five, with less than 40 percent of participants saying they would care “very much” if the company and its products disappeared tomorrow, and nearly 20 percent saying they would not care “at all.” When it comes to societal impact, Apple surpassed Facebook and Microsoft, but fell behind Google and Amazon, in the number of participants who felt the company had a “very positive” impact on the world.

So despite its track record on consumer privacy, record-breaking revenue and market valuation, and reputation for premium hardware and top-tier design, Apple appears to have been eclipsed by companies that are becoming more deeply embedded in the fabric of everyday life. While neither Google nor Amazon really compete with Apple in key categories like premium desktops, high-end tablets, and smartwatches, both have dominant positions in areas increasingly more relevant to our digital existence.

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