Apple, Dell, and Bose are ahead of other brands in terms of creating trust - but Microsoft's mind-share continues to erode, a new research report reveals.

Market research firm Forrester surveyed 4,700 US households in September and October 2005 to find out how much they trusted 48 technology brands, including HP, Gateway, IBM, Microsoft, Nintendo, Toshiba, and TiVo.

Overall the research found that the trust US consumers have in technology companies is eroding.

Forrester believes this declining trust between 2003 to 2005 is due to technologies like PCs, HDTVs, and MP3 players reaching more price-conscious, mainstream consumers.

"That's a major challenge for tech companies that must now sell to tech-averse customers who demonstrate little brand loyalty," the company said.

Apple and TiVo are the only brands that enjoyed an increase in consumer trust between 2003 and 2005.

However, despite the Apple versus Apple case that's wending its way through the UK courts, the researchers found a disconnect between the Apple Computer brand and the iPod.

"In our survey, iPod owners did not appear to identify with the Apple Computer brand, which could impede the so-called 'halo effect' that iPods might have on Mac sales," they said.

Otherwise, Bose, Dell, Sony, Panasonic, and HP are the technology brands that score the highest with US consumers. Lowest-rated companies include: Toshiba, Hitachi, Microsoft, Gateway, and LG.

"Trust is a powerful way to measure a brand's value and its ability to command a premium price or drive consumers into a higher-profit direct channel," said Forrester vice president Ted Schadler.