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Surface and Xbox help Microsoft boost hipness factor

Microsoft has been working hard as of late to reinvent its image, and show it can hang with the cool kids. Now, it seems like the software giant's efforts are paying off.

According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, "just under half" of 853 respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said they thought Microsoft is cooler now than it was just a year or two ago. While 50 per cent might not sound like a lot, the Redmond-based firm did manage to top the coolness factor of two other major players in the tech world — Facebook and Twitter.

Some 47 per cent of the young adults polled said Twitter has gotten cooler than it was in the past, while 42 per cent said the same for the world's largest social network, Facebook.

While Microsoft is still often dismissed as uncool, that perception is apparently changing, the report notes. Part of the shift can be attributed to Microsoft's recent marketing campaign for its new Surface tablet lineup, as well as the Xbox 360 and Kinect gaming systems, which are popular among younger consumers.

Microsoft recently targeted those who grew up in the '90s with an ad for Internet Explorer 10 featuring some of the most iconic toys, utilities, games, and fashion of the decade before declaring "You grew up. So did we." The company has also been going after Google, taking aim at the web giant's search engine, shopping results, and Gmail service with its so-called Scroogled campaign.

But for all its progress, Microsoft still can't match the coolness factor of rivals Google and Apple. Google's Android brand took top honors in the survey with 70 per cent of respondents saying the mobile phone OS is cooler now than it was in the past.

Meanwhile, about 60 per cent of young adults polled said Apple has gotten cooler in recent years. One person who would probably take issue with that assessment is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Speaking with Bloomberg in Berlin, Wozniak recently said that Apple risks losing the cool factor it has enjoyed for years in consumer markets.