Microsoft and Master/Slave

Joseph S. Barrera III (
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 09:25:24 -0700

Just to tie up (so to speak) a couple of threads on this list...

-----Original Message-----
From: Nev Dull []
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 1999 9:05 AM
To: /dev/null
Subject: Apple, her research suggests, is seen as a "close friend."

Forwarded-by: "Geoffrey S. Knauth" <>

[Harvard Business School Associate Professor] Ms. Fournier applies
"relationship theory" to consumer-brand research. Based on surveys of
adults, she has characterized the primary relationship consumers have
with products they are familiar with. For example, Harley-Davidson,
the motorcycle brand with a fanatic following, is "best friend." The
"mother-child" relationship tends to be how consumers regard Johnson &
Johnson and AT&T, while McDonald's and Kraft Foods' Jello dessert brand
fall into the category of "childhood buddy."

The Microsoft relationship, according to Ms. Fournier, is "master-slave."

Two other kinds of brands, she says, fit into the master-slave grouping:
monopolies like the local cable television supplier or the local telephone
company, and products that are addictive like cigarettes.

Americans, Ms. Fournier points out, have double-edged feelings about
technology in general -- that it both frees and enslaves, saves time and
consumes time, assimilates and isolates. Still, she notes that some
Microsoft rivals like Apple Computer Inc. evoke more "positive
socio-emotional responses" from consumers. Apple, her research suggests,
is seen as a "close friend."