In a stunning victory, a Zeta Interactive report conducted for Brandweek concludes that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is the most buzz-worthy brand of the year.

Really? That Microsoft? This year? Believe it.

The study factors in the volume of online posts, adjusting for the tone of the authors, to arrive at its Zeta Buzz ranking. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) took top honors in 2008, but Mr. Softy is on top now.

Company

Post Volume

Tone (+/-)

Microsoft

375,661

83/17

Google

361,344

82/18

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN)

282,668

88/12

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

241,879

75/25

Target (NYSE:TGT)

208,848

78/22

Source: Adweek.

If you're angling for a shock, check out the final column that breaks down the positive and negative posts. According to the report, the chances that a Microsoft online post will be positive are better than if the company was Google or Apple.

How can Microsoft's positive percentage of posts be 83% and Apple's a mere 75%?

Do we need a recount? Are Apple posts being lumped into the backlash of iffy AT&T (NYSE:T) iPhone coverage? Is Microsoft using its massive cash hoard to buy votes?

Not so fast. Microsoft has been aggressive in winning back its good name this year. Between the "laptop hunter" ads showing the value of Windows-powered systems over MacBooks to the aggressive Bing "decision engine" spots, Microsoft has been rolling on the marketing front.

Oh, and let's not forget the Vista-cleansing arrival of Windows 7 two months ago.

If the positive buzz sticks, maybe even the seemingly ridiculous chain of Microsoft retail stores may make sense in the end.

Congratulations, Microsoft -- but I'm still wondering about that recount.

Do you believe Microsoft is the brand with the most buzz in 2009? Let us know in the comment box below.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Motley Fool Options recommended a diagonal call strategy on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders whether it's cool to wear a Microsoft sweatshirt again. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.