For the first time ever, in the UK, people are seeking more information about Apple than Microsoft, and it looks like the world is about to follow.
A couple of weeks back I posted my findings after playing around with Google Trends. One of these was, to me, astonishing: when plotting Apple vs Microsoft, the Google Trends chart search volume chart – that is, the number of people looking for each term – showed that Apple had, for the first time ever, overtaken Microsoft. Moreover this was at the end of a clear trend showing Apple closing the gap over the past three years. This implied that people are hunting out information more about Apple than Microsoft.
I posted, sat back, and waited for the comments to flood in. But this didn’t cause much of a stir. I was surprised because I think it’s highly significant. Perhaps I shouldn’t have ‘buried’ the finding in a post about Google Trends, or maybe I was slightly frivolous in investigating the effect the Cadbury’s ‘Drumming Gorilla’ was having on Phil Collins record sales.
So, I’m returning to it and looking more closely. Here’s the chart as it stands today:
My interpretation: since the beginning of 2004, in the UK, there has been a gradual closing of the gap between people searching for news about Apple (red) and Microsoft (blue), and Apple would appear to have supplanted Microsoft in the past two weeks. In the third quarter of 2007 we see this crossing for the first time. This is not a temporary reaction to the iPhone, and it would seem news of the Microsoft fine in the EU has had little effect. Furthermore, the chart for all regions shows a similar trend but Apple doesn’t quite seem to have crossed over yet:
In both examples the lower chart shows the amount of times the topic appeared in Google News. This shows less of a change: it would seem that Microsoft still generates more news than Apple overall, even though there are occasional switchovers.
This tells me that consistently, over the past six months, in all regions, people have been posting more about Apple (it also shows that typical, tell-tale weekly cycle in which people have better things to do that post on their blogs at weekends!). So people have always been more interested in talking about Apple, but, according to Google Trends, they’re also more interested in seeking out information about the company too.
What else does Steve Rubel do? (Yes, it’s true, I have no original thought). Oh yes – Technorati, Land of the Free. Below, we have Microsoft, then Apple, over the past six months, in all languages:
To my eye this looks like a close-run thing but I would say this implies there is more posting about Microsoft than Apple? Hmmmm.
So in short, we seem to have three plottable activities: news coverage in Google News; the amount people post; and the amount people search.
News coverage seems fairly constant, and Microsoft ‘outcovers’ Apple. Blog posting seems a little inconclusive: Blogpulse indicates more posting about Apple, whereas Technorati looks more like Microsoft.
But the Google Trends is very revealing about what people are looking for. Apple has turned the tables on Microsoft, as part of a clear trend over the past three years.
Apple is on people’s minds more than Microsoft for the first time ever.
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