If you had to guess which companies get the most attention on our news sites (News.com and ZDNet News) you'd probably come up with a list similar to this: Microsoft, Google, Apple, Intel, and IBM; and you’d be right. A recent BT Trax analysis shows that Microsoft leads the pack with up to 7 times as many headlines as some of its “buzzshare” competitors like Apple and IBM. The result is a ton of page views for Redmond. In the last 6 months, Microsoft news consumption has outpaced the second place vendor, Apple, with well over twice as many counts.
But when you peel away the impressive editorial coverage, and compare the each vendor apples to apples a different picture emerges. A look at the average number of page views per title reveals that Microsoft gets about half as many page views per title as compared to Google and Apple, a strong indication of where reader interest actually resides. While I am not at the liberty to show you those actual figures or ratios (that would surely please our competitors), a chart illustrates these findings. In the last 6 months, Google is on top with the biggest headline “conversion rate,” with Apple in second and Microsoft a distant third. Intel and IBM are in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
A reflection of this finding can be seen in the blogosphere using the same trend tool we used to compare Longhorn buzz recently. Using Intelliseek’s BlogPulse—which as of yesterday has been upgraded—we see a correlation between the top three buzzshare companies on our sites and blogosphere buzz over the same time period. The chart below shows Google on top, Apple in the middle, and Microsoft in third place.
There are a couple of reasons why attention for these three companies stack up the way they do. Google has moved in unprecedented ways leveraging its search business and delivering interesting Web-based applications to users growing increasingly comfortable with doing just about everything in a browser. (Have you seen Google's image of the surface of the moon yet?) Similarly, Apple has dazzled the industry with its music business, its relatively quick adoption of RSS and podcasting, and head-scratching move to Intel. Microsoft makes waves too, and any announcement about Longhorn (now Vista) usually attracts readers in droves. The sentiment is different however, and appears to be adversely effecting interest. It is echoed well by this venture capitalist in a recent post about .NET, pointed out by Redmond’s very own Robert Scoble:
While the OS is important, Microsoft has lost its complete and utter dominance as we move to a service-oriented world where broadband is everywhere, apps are in the cloud, and the browser becomes king.