What Microsoft could do with its No. 3 brand

Given the beating Microsoft has taken lately, it's impressive that Microsoft still ranks third in Interbrand's "Best Global Brands 2009" report. Given Microsoft's still-robust brand, what should the company be doing to rejuvenate key areas of its business?

Only IBM (2nd) and Coca-Cola rank higher than Microsoft, and Google (7th) and Intel (9th) trail by a considerable margin. Apple, for all its sex appeal, barely scrapes into the top 20. Such resilience is all the more striking, given Microsoft's less-than-stellar year, as the report suggests:

2009 marks the first year-on-year decline in Microsoft's public history, despite a game console division that continues to be profitable. As the market matures, the giant faces stiff competition from faster, quicker rivals.

In terms of browsing, Microsoft's Internet Explorer has dropped 10 percentage points in market share every two years, while Mozilla Firefox gains 10 percentage points in the same time period. Additionally, a $300 million ad campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates could have fared better with audiences.

However, Microsoft's Bing, a new search engine that launched in June to great reviews, is poised to give Google a real run for its money.

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