Apple's image takes slight hit in wake of Steve Jobs death

11% of respondents in market research survey say perception of company has worsened

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More than 11% of respondents to a May market research survey say they hold a more negative view of Apple since the death last October of co-founder Steve Jobs.

According to market strategy firm iGR, 9.4% of respondents said their perception of Apple has worsened since Jobs died, with another 1.7% reporting that their "perception of Apple has greatly worsened."

Clearly the latter were in the "Jobs is God" camp, since Apple really hasn't done much in the past seven months or so for an objective person's perception of the company to greatly worsen. Maybe these people bought shares at $644.

iGR drilled down into the stats and determined that "those with a worsening image of Apple are 12% to 18% more likely to be men and to be over aged 45 years," as well as "likely to have higher household incomes, (be) higher educated (at least a college degree) and married."

But before Apple pushes the panic button, the survey also shows that 84% of respondents say their image of the company hasn't changed since Jobs died. Further, 1% said their image of Apple "had much improved since Steve Jobs died" and another 3.5% said their perception of the company had improved.

So we're really talking about a net negative change in respondents' images of Apple of 6.6%. When you consider that no other modern technology leader -- never mind technology, no other business leader -- has been more closely identified with their company than Jobs was with Apple, that's really not a bad number.

In the long run, of course, consumers' perceptions of Apple will be shaped by the products it ships, its ability to innovate, and its success in keeping the Reality Distortion Field fully functional.

Chris Nerney writes ITworld's Tech Business Today blog. Follow Chris on Twitter at @ChrisNerney. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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