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Microsoft’s CE Products Get Almost As Much Respect As Apple’s

Consumer perceptions of Microsoft’s consumer electronics products are on the upswing, and the company “appears ripe to disrupt Apple’s hold across markets” thanks to its smartphones, fitness band, and Surface tablets, an Argus Insights survey found.

Argus measured consumers’ “delight” with CE products from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon and Google by analyzing global consumer reviews and social media conversations.

For its latest survey, Argus said it analyzed more than 942,000 consumer reviews from January through Sept. 2015 to outline “the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular offerings from these major brands.”

Apple “continues to delight consumers more than the other brands due to their focus on an integrated user experience, while Google Nexus devices and the Amazon Fire TV Stick fail to delight consumers despite the strong positioning of their service offerings,” Argus found.

Microsoft’s ability to delight consumers jumped beginning in February to propel the tech company to a “close number two” behind Apple through September in the ability of hardware products to delight consumers, Argus said.

During the past year, said Argus CES John Feland, “we have watched Microsoft’s success in devices poking holes in Apple’s walls with their tablet and wearables offerings.”

Whereas Google and Amazon offer inexpensive hardware devices “meant to entice more consumers to visit their gardens more often, Microsoft has focused on crafting new experiences built on solid hardware that is delighting consumers,” he said. “Samsung, without a strong content play, is just leasing space in the gardens of other brands.”

Samsung, Argus said, “is failing to delight users across multiple fronts and has seen a significant drop as a result of the new iPhones launched in September. “ Google’s branded Nexus hardware “just delivers ‘good enough’ to consumers, a bar being raised by Microsoft and Apple,” the company said.

Google was last among the five brands throughout the survey period, while Samsung and Amazon moved in and out of the third- and fourth-place positions throughout the period.

In other findings, Argus said:

–Home-automation products such as SmartThings from Samsung and Nest from Google are dragging down those brands’ perceptions, while the Amazon Echo “is adding to a brand’s balance of social capital.”

–Apple-device users “are delighted across all market segments, with the highest praise for tablets and wearables.”

–and an early analysis of the iPhone 6S launch found consumer demand for the 6S line lower than that of the iPhone 6 from September 2014.