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Microsoft Tops New Brand-Like-Me Survey, While Apple Too Cool for School

"A lot of the world uses Microsoft products and people relate to it, while Apple is like a prom king or queen, beautiful but not really like us."

In an interesting new study that measures consumer brand strength, Microsoft reigned supreme while perennial winner Apple lagged behind. The reason? The Seattle area software giant was deemed just-us-folks, while the Silicon Valley style icon was considered unapproachable.

That’s according to the UTA Brand Studio’s new Brand Dependence Index — aimed at judging consumer brand strength — that is being rolled out today at CES in Las Vegas. UTA paired with uSamp, its technology partner, for the survey.

Among the results, according to the survey: “Windows surpassed all other brands that consumers say they can’t live without and relate more to themselves.”

UTA Brand Studio founder and executive director Larry Vincent acknowledged that the results are counter to conventional wisdom and numerous other such reports usually have Apple and Google at the top of consumer lists.

“Those look solely at intent to purchase, likability and sales-driven econometrics,” said Vincent. “Our index evaluates brand-self connection and the degree to which thoughts and feelings about a brand come to mind with little effort.”

Meaning it’s a bunch of thoughtless consumers?

“We were surprised too, until you understand attachment,” said Vincent in an interview. “A lot of the world uses Microsoft products and people relate to it, while Apple is like a prom king or queen, beautiful but not really like us.”

Thus, Windows was at the top of the list that those polled said they were most dependent on, with respondents noting that “this brand is part of who I am.” Apple ranked eighth and Google was third.

But for richer people, Apple moved up to third for incomes greater than $50,000 per year and second for households with incomes in excess of $150,000 per year.

Vincent noted to me in a later email:

“Brand Dependence is a distinct measure of brand equity that determines how much people see a brand as being like themselves, sharing their values, and being an indispensable part of their lives. It is driven by brand-self connection (how much a brand is like me) and brand prominence (how automatically thoughts and feelings about a brand come to mind). It has been shown in numerous studies to be a distinct and better predictor of behavior than typical measures of brand attitudes (‘I like that brand,’ ‘That brand is cool,’ etc.).”

So cool is out?

“Among the ways to interpret this index, for example, is that Microsoft isn’t dead yet, and Apple is vulnerable,” he said. “Apple is vulnerable because of how polarized people were in their views about the brand. And Microsoft is still seen by many as being more like them.”

Read the Brand Dependence PDF here.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.