Think Microsoft has lost the cool factor to Apple and Google? Think again.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that just under half of 853 respondents between the age of 18 and 29 thought Microsoft is cooler now than it was a year or two ago. Could it be something to do with the proliferation of Windows 8 devices?

The software maker, often talked down to in Silicon Valley for failing to catch up with cool Apple and Android products, has captivated a new generation of social media and mobile savvy consumers, and even managed to pip Facebook in the survey. Only 42 percent of young adults thought the world's largest social network is cooler now than in the past, while Microsoft's image was thought to have improved by 50 percent of the respondents.

The results of the poll

The results of the poll

It is believed that this change of image appears to stem from a well-coordinated marketing campaign around the Surface tablets, which have showcased the revamped interface in Windows 8. Then there is the Xbox gaming console and Kinect, which have also played a part to improve Microsoft’s image around younger consumers.

Apple, despite what Wall Street investors and speculators may want to think, still commands some respect among customers looking for cool gadgets. The company also scored well in the poll, the first time such an exercise was held. About 60 percent of 18 to 29-year-old respondents still thought Apple was cooler now than in the past. But the Android brand did even better, with a full 70 percent giving it the thumbs up.

A Reuters report on the poll says, “Although 'coolness' remains, at best, an amorphous concept, consumer perceptions are pivotal in determining the longevity of products, particularly in the fast-moving consumer electronics industry. Microsoft dominates the personal computing industry and is still far larger than most other tech corporations on the planet. But it has seldom won plaudits for cutting-edge consumer technology and its share price has plateaued for a decade under CEO Steve Ballmer's watch.

Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg says Microsoft's efforts are finally paying off. “We'll have to see how cool translates into customers. It's also hard to compare 'cool' factor as a quantitative measure against Apple, a company, and Android, a platform.

In social media, 54 percent use Facebook “continuously throughout the day”. That figure dwarfs those of other popular social networks and blogging platforms. Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest were all left behind by Facebook. Fifty percent of the young adults said they do not use Twitter, while that number was 58 for Pinterest and 68 percent for Tumblr.

The poll, which will be repeated in coming months, included responses from 4,798 people surveyed between February 5 and February 19. The data is collected online from a pool of pre-screened candidates.

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