Despite what most in the industry may surmise, Microsoft has quietly surged ahead in the hearts and minds of the public. Microsoft has spent longer than a decade trying to win back what it lost to companies like Apple and Google, but the company may have finally hit gold with the "One Microsoft" branding.

Forrester's Tracy Stokes announced new findings in a recently released report, preface by a blog post titled: "Why Microsoft Trumps Apple In The Battle For Consumer Mindshare"

In the blog post Tracy describes the process and methodology that Forrester uses to accurately determine mass brand recognition. The TRUE Brand Compass ranks companies based on consumer's emotional connection to a brand and also on the brand's progress. Apple has been the brand recognition leader for a long while, but Microsoft has now taken the top spot in Forrester's findings. And, the company has done it in a big way. The TRUE brand rankings singled-out Microsoft as the only brand in the bunch to achieve a coveted Trailblazer status.

The report itself goes on to highlight that consumers consider Microsoft's Windows and Office products as essential to everyday life. Companies like Apple and Samsung were neck-and-neck in the running, but the Essentials category was the one that pushed Microsoft to the top of the heap. Also, Microsoft's products and solutions resonate across a wider range demographic, while Apple and Samsung received high points only in the younger (25 to 33) age group.

Microsoft is still in a state of flux, waiting for the perfect CEO replacement to emerge, but based on steady stock gains and reports like Forrester's, the company is back on a level that it has not been for over a decade.

The full Forrester Research report can be found here: Innovative Consumer Technology Brands Win the Battle for Mindshare