In 2012 Microsoft help the #1 spot for corporate brand perception in Japan. This year Microsoft has fallen to third and Apple has gained the #1 spot for the first time. Google has also moved from 8th to 5th. According to Nikkei Research:
Apple saw a “greater willingness of businesspeople to recommend its products. And the U.S. company continues to rank high in “originality and brand premium.”
The iPhone is selling well in Japan and the trend is expected to continue with the iPhone 5S. More businesses and consumers are willing to recommend Apple products right now in Japan. The No. 2 spot went to a Japanese company, Yamato Transport, a home delivery service. Microsoft has a lot of work to do, but with the purchase of Nokia and increased innovation in the hardware space I believe Microsoft can regain the top spot when annual survey is done again next year. But in a culture where tentacle porn, beta males, and bizarre TV shows are acceptable, it may be a tough challenge.