Don’t you love it when a “study” comes out that states something that is obvious to just about anyone under the sun?  You just have to sit back for a moment and go, “someone actually got permission to do this study and probably got funding for it … I’m in the wrong line of work.”

According to The New York Times, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has just completed a year long study of 52 newspapers, broadcast and Web sites from June 2009 through June 2010 to see how technology coverage broke down by company.  While it certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, Apple was the clear winner.  The coverage of three of the biggest companies broke down as:

Apple Logo

  • Apple – 15.1 percent
  • Google – 11.4 percent
  • Microsoft – 3 percent

Yes, even I’m a bit shocked by Microsoft’s lack of coverage.  Some of the top stories were:

  • Text while driving – 8.5 percent
  • iPhone – 6.4 percent
  • iPad – 4.6 percent

I’ve long held a theory about this, and it’s because that Apple not only creates the software, but also the hardware.  If Microsoft did the same, you might see its coverage get a boost.  The problem for the company, as I see it, is that once it releases something like Windows 7 it captures one to two news cycles at most because you get the announcement, and then the release, but you then see it get so scattered because it’s a laptop by this company, and a laptop by that company, and that point the story is no longer about Microsoft per se, but instead it is about the company that made the laptop.

On the flip side, Apple controls every news cycle related to a project: you get the rumors, the announcement, the release, the sales figures for the first few days of sales and so on.  By keeping the entire Apple ecosystem self-contained, it gets to get its company name in the press again, and again, which adds up to a lot more mentions than the fine folks in Redmond.

Think about it for a minute, sure we’re getting some rumors about Windows 8, but those are coming out slowly.  Over on Windows Phone 7, we’re getting some news now, but once the phones get released will the stories be more about Microsoft or about whichever company made he phone?  I think you can get an idea of what I mean.

Oddly, Google seems to not suffer this effect with Android phones as the story always seems to be more about the operating system than the company that made the phone.  My guess would be that’s because Google is a “hot” company right now, where as Microsoft long ago ceased being considered “cool”.

As I said, this is but my theory, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.