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Dell, Apple Lead In Brand Trust, Microsoft Dead Last

Bose, Dell, and Apple Computer led the technology brands trusted by U.S. consumers, a new survey from Forrester Research said Monday, while Microsoft came in dead last.

The annual survey, noted Forrester analyst Ted Schadler, also showed an across-the-board drop in trust in personal computer and consumer electronics brands.

"A decline in trust causes brand erosion and price-driven purchase decisions, which in turn correlates with low market growth," said Schadler in a statement. Trust has declined each year since 2003, he added, with only Apple and TiVo, the latter now synonymous with digital video recorders, bucking the trend.

In the telephone survey of 4,700 American adults, Microsoft's brand earned the overall 20th spot out of the 22 companies included in the poll, with its trust level in the cellar. "Microsoft faces big consumer defection risk," the accompanying Forrester report on the survey read. Some 5.4 million households "know they run Microsoft software but would be just as happy to leave it behind -- if they could."

The survey was taken in September and October 2005, long before Microsoft announced that its next Windows operating system, Vista, would miss this year's back-to-school and fourth-quarter selling seasons.