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Apple Inc. (AAPL) Needs to Fight Back Before It’s Too Late: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Google Inc (GOOG)

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) finds itself in an unusual position these days.

It’s the underdog. It’s the unloved. It’s the one clawing for technological relevance. It’s the one backpedaling as it desperately reaches for its slingshot.

Google Inc (GOOG)

As all eyes turn to Times Square tonight for Samsung’s shiny new Galaxy S IV smartphone introduction, Apple investors are hoping the class act of Cupertino aims well.

I’m an iPhone
Apple’s marketing chief went on the offensive yesterday. Phil Schiller was chatty with a few major financial news outlets, talking down Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Android as a way to play up Apple’s position.

“When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “They don’t work seamlessly together.”

“With their own data, only 16% of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system,” Schiller told Reuters, going on to point out that more than half of Android smartphone owners are running software that it more than two years old.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hasn’t really had to take shots since its successful “I’m a Mac” ads attacking Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to prop up computer sales back when Macs were a material contributor to Apple’s business. Mac sales accounted for just 10% of Apple’s revenue in its latest quarter.

Fighting ire with ire
A surprising report earlier this week claimed that Samsung actually outspent Apple in advertising last year.

It makes sense. Have you been seeing as many Apple ads as you used to come across? Unlike the “I’m a Mac” ads that would hammer Windows Vista, the ads that the tech giant is putting out these days do more in singling out iOS benefits than calling out the competition.

Samsung isn’t playing so nice.

It tripped up Apple’s iPhone 5 launch last year by putting out a series of ads mocking the folks waiting in line for Apple’s new smartphone, playing up the Galaxy S III’s superior features.

Were the ads effective? Well, Apple shares have surrendered more than 35% of their value since the iPhone 5’s launch. You be the judge.

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