Research: Microsoft is nearly invisible in the mainstream press

Microsoft coverage in the mainstream media has fallen off drastically compared to five years ago, researchers say

When it comes to mainstream media outlets like newspapers, TV and radio news, it seems that no one cares much about Microsoft anymore, a new report from Pew Research Center has found. Everyone's eye is on Apple instead. If they turn away from Cupertino, it's mostly to write about Google, Twitter and Facebook.

The report says:

"Microsoft, on the other hand, received little press at all. After being arguably the most important technology company, even as recently as five years ago, run by the richest man in the world and the world’s most powerful monopoly, Microsoft has, at least for now, fallen off the mainstream media’s radar. It received just one-fifth the coverage of Apple, less than a third the coverage of Google and less than half the attention of Twitter."

You'll note that Citibank is on the list (uhm, that's a bank, not a technology company, right?). But sarcasm aside, Citibank can be used as a metric to compare the amount of coverage mainstream media gives to specific technology companies compared to the coverage it gives to one of the nation's most important, and most troubled financial institutions. Microsoft receives more coverage than Citibank -- which I think says more about mainstream news than Microsoft. Ah well, if Citibank does anything really worth knowing about, you can probably catch it on  The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

AT&T, Comcast and Research in Motion get even less mainstream attention than Microsoft (or Citibank for that matter). And IBM -- which is also a big, important technology company -- isn't on media's radar at all.

Researchers scanned a representative sample of technology stories on network TV news, newspapers (large and small circulation), online news sites, cable news and radio news to come up with their report.

They also analyzed tech stories in blogs and the Twitterverse. A full one-third of technology-related stories linked to on Twitter are about business news, with gadget reviews also accounting for a third. XBox and Windows 7 are part of the gadget news. Indeed, the report says that one of the most popular Twitter stories that made the rounds in November 2009 was the "news that Microsoft was banning as many as a million users of their XBox Live gaming service for modifying game consoles or using illegally downloaded games."

So all Microsoft needs to do to stay in the news is to ban people from XBox Live.

Actually, Windows 7 might be the company's saving grace. It actually accounted for 2.3% of Twitter tech stories. That's not much compared to tweets about Twitter itself (15.2%) or tweets about the iPhone (7.6%) but it does make the chart.

Here's something interesting, too. When media outlets did report on Microsoft, it seems that researchers were able to identify four major storylines:

Microsoft is innovative and its products are superior/breakthrough/better designed.

Microsoft is a dangerous manipulative monopoly.

Microsoft products have too many bugs/viruses.

Microsoft is behind the innovation curve.

So the old axiom "no news is good news" isn't the case here. No news for Microsoft is no news.

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