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Microsoft winning against Apple and Google

MicrosoftA week is a long time in the world of technology. After looking for some time like it's on the precipice of disaster, Microsoft is on a bit of a roll at the moment.

Microsoft's Windows operating system was not only attacked by its own users but by the all-powerful Google empire in the shape of the Chrome OS. Web browser IE's market share plummeted in the face of Firefox 3.5. Old arch-rival Apple was getting all the plaudits for the iPhone 3GS, while Microsoft was forced to endure the abject failure of Zune.

Yet the Redmond software giant has just been named top UK "Super brand" above both Google and Apple. The results of the annual survey, based on interviews with hundreds of experts and over 2,000 consumers, put Microsoft in first place, while Google has dropped from top spot to number three. Apple - supposedly the über-brand - languishes at number 9.

For an alternative view, see Mac view: Microsoft's running scared

Microsoft's new Bing search engine appears to be gaining traction in the UK. Despite being launched only last month, Microsoft's Bing has already overtaken Yahoo in the search market, according to StatCounter Global Stats.

And Microsoft bigwigs are doing a good show of sniggering at the threat of Chrome OS. CEO Steve Ballmer has promised to be "respectful" of Chrome OS, but points out that Google's desktop operating system won't ship for a year and a half, a fact that relegates it to the vapourware category for now.

"The Chrome OS thing is highly interesting," said Ballmer, before adding, "'Who knows what this thing is?"

Google Chrome OS FAQ

But maybe the biggest shot in the arm to Microsoft is the news that Apple has started to plead with it to stop airing its latest anti-Mac TV ads.

According to Ars Technica, Microsoft's COO Kevin Turner is claiming that Apple's legal department has called Microsoft to request them to stop running its Laptop Hunter series of ads.

During his Worldwide Partner Conference keynote Turner told delegates that Apple told him that the ads are inaccurate, now that Apple has reduced its laptop prices, and so should be pulled.

Far from being scared by Apple's legal team, Turner was delighted.

Here's what Turner said at the Conference:

"And you know why I know [the commercials are] working? Because two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, 'Hey...' - this is a true story - saying, 'Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.' They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call that I've ever taken in business.

"I did cartwheels down the hallway. At first I said, 'Is this a joke? Who are you?' Not understanding what an opportunity. And so we're just going to keep running them and running them and running them."

I very much doubt that Apple was sobbing and pleading with Microsoft to stop airing the adverts - more likely trying a quick shot across the bows to see if it could derail the successful campaign.

But I doubt that Steve Jobs would do something so obviously weak. Steve would have commissioned a new set of ads biting right back at Microsoft.

Apple appears rattled. And maybe Google is a little scared now that Microsoft has announced that it is to launch free online versions of its mighty Office applications. What chance do Google Apps have in the face of online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint?

Microsoft Office 2010 review

When things looked bleakest for Microsoft the old giant has suddenly roared back to life, and it's Apple and Google who are left looking like frightened little boys just moments after apparently slaying the beast.

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