Is Amazon Beating Apple?

Though it was only by a narrow margin, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) dealt a heavy blow to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), beating it in the reputation rankings derived from the the Harris Poll. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) came in fourth place, overall, and third among tech companies.

Amazon actually beat not only Apple, which came in third, but every other company in the poll, including Disney (NYSE:DIS) in second place and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) rounding out the top 5. Amazon has been moving up in the charts for some time — last year it was behind Apple — and it’s certainly reflected in Amazon’s expenses. In Amazon’s fourth quarter, the money that went into fulfillment increased 36 percent to $2.26 billion, showing a hefty commitment to satisfying customers with strong service.

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Amazon’s popularity was unfortunately not enough for its net income, which declined to $97 million for the previous quarter from $177 million a year earlier. The company managed to get sales up to $21.3 billion and expand it’s operating margin in North America to 5 percent. So the company’s strength is growing both internally and externally.

Apple’s slip may be coming at a bad time, as Amazon continues growing more ways it can compete directly with Apple. One battleground is the tablet arena, where Kindle and the iPad go head-to-head. While the iPad is unquestionably the most popular tablet on the market, the growing popularity of Android and the lower prices of Kindle devices could slowly wear away at Apple’s lead. A survey by JD Power & Associates even showed the Kindle Fire coming close to beating the iPad’s ranking for highest reputation.

In the poll, Apple only beat Amazon in vision, leadership, and financial performance, leaving Amazon to top Apple in trust, products and services, social responsibility, and emotional appeal.

Though Amazon topped Apple in the poll, it’s still up to the companies and consumers who will top whom in the marketplace, where Apple continues to reign supreme.

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