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Microsoft is getting hip again, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, but Google's still the coolest kid in school.

The polling organization asked the US's finest 18 and 29-year-olds what the coolest tech brands are, and for the first time in a long while around half answered Microsoft. The generation that grew up with an Xbox – and the recent buzz around the Surface fondleslab and Phone 8 – appears to have helped Redmond begin to shed its buttoned-down image.

Reuters quotes Josh Johnson, a 24-year-old media-arts student at the University of South Carolina, as an example of how Microsoft is winning the hearts and wallets of the new generation. "I know Apple is the cool, hip brand right now," he said, "but if Microsoft keeps coming out with new tech I'm sure it'll be back soon."

That said, Cupertino's still cooler than its Redmond rivals. About 60 per cent of da yout – in the South London vernacular – think that Apple is cooler than it was a few years ago. But before Tim Cook pops a cork, the survey also found that Google is the prom king of the tech classroom, with seven out of 10 of the 4,798 people polled giving it the thumbs-up.

Facebook has grown even less cool than Microsoft, according to 47 per cent of respondents, but even so 90 per cent of them reported checking in on the social networking site, and over half on a daily basis – declining in coolness doesn't mean discarded.

The news coincides with a recent interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in which he hinted that consumers were Redmond's latest focus.

"Our number one thing is supplying products to consumers," he told MIT Review. "That's kind of what we do. Sixty-five percent of all PCs go to the consumer, not to the enterprise. Seventy percent of all Office suites go to the consumer, not the enterprise. One hundred percent of all Xboxes go to the consumers, not the enterprise. Now, we've monetized the enterprise better than the consumer, there's no question about that." ®

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