Apple and Microsoft have been fierce competitors since the early 80s. Both companies got their start in the development of home computers. Since then, both power players have held the lead, in different decades, with different product lines. Microsoft was dominant in the realm of home computing until Apple’s supremacy, thanks to their efforts in mobile and tablets (WatchMojo.com, 2014). In 2021, Apple held the top dog position, far outperforming Microsoft in dollars and cents. In the fiscal year 2021, hardware-focused Apple’s 365.82 billion US dollar revenue was over double the amount of Microsoft’s 168.09 billion U.S. dollars (Statista, 2022).
The two competitors use distinctly different brand styles and positioning strategies:
- Apple focuses on uniformity, quality, branding, and style
- Microsoft is more focused on ubiquity
Apple’s marketing strategy is to grab the attention of the individual, and launch products with a high-impact, showman-style reveal, generating worldwide buzz and excitement. Their focus is on converting early adopters, who perform the role of brand ambassadors/influencers. Style-wise, Apple maintains an esthetic of high design and simplicity. The brand stays current by innovating and investing in creative campaigns, that resonate with today’s consumers.
While Apple positions itself as a solution for the individual, Microsoft’s strategy is to target the enterprise, positioning itself as the best solution for product effectiveness and usability. Microsoft’s marketing strategy is to drive its enterprises business by creating cloud based solutions that will stick with its consumers. Microsoft uses a mix of demographic and behavior segmentation strategies to segments the market into different group with similar characteristics (Vyshnavi, 2021).
When comparing the two brands, Apple excels at both marketing and product innovation, which is why consumers prefer Apple over Microsoft. Apple has a stronger brand image and identity and has understood the value of nurturing brand loyalty. Apple’s products are fun, stylish, hip, and adaptable to the individual’s wants and needs.
Historically, Microsoft’s primary business has been software, which generates a minimal emotional response. The growth of Microsoft was largely due to its focus on market share, which failed to consider that the buyer wants their individual needs to be met. Consumers become attached to brands that have identities that align with their views of themselves.
I am, of course, biased in my analysis, as I’m an Apple loyalist, who has always found Apple products to be more user-friendly and visually appealing, no matter that the costs are significantly higher.
Statista. (July, 2022). Revenue comparison of Apple, Google, Alphabet, and Microsoft from 2008 to 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/234529/comparison-of-apple-and-google-revenues/
WatchMojo.com (May 2014). Top 10 Business Rivalries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OE4Q60Dzyw
Vyshnavi, PV (Feb 2021). Apple Vs. Microsoft: Analysis Of Their Marketing Strategy. Startup Talky. https://startuptalky.com/apple-vs-microsoft-marketing-strategy/