All this talk of Microsoft and Apple's relative values sent me quickly to Google, where I pulled up the following chart:
The blue line is searches for "Microsoft;" the red is for "Apple." I've filtered it by "Computers & Electronics" to limit the impact of a certain fruit. The blue spike around April first is searches related to the conficker virus, which was supposed to activate on that day. Adding conficker to this graph demonstrates the connection.
Unfortunately, the graph neither confirms nor denys the value trends, but it does exhibit a more interesting behavior - weekly seasonalities! Searches for "Microsoft" drop off on weekends; searches for "Apple" tick up at that time. Could this be evidence for how people perceive the two companies - a work/leisure dichotomy?
Although it appears that the pattern in Apple searches was disrupted - though overall volume was stable - by the iPhone announcement in mid-March. Also note that the search volume was not affected when the two companies reported earnings - not surprisingly, people looking for those numbers tended to search for MSFT and AAPL rather than the firms' actual names.
I must confess the trend was even more dramatic before I filtered for just computer-related results; apparantly people search much more for red fruit on weekends than during the week!
Click here for a live view of this trend.