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Apple Lead Barely Shrinks in Customer-Satisfaction Survey

Computer vendors can only wish they made their customers as happy as Detroit's car-manufacturing dinosaurs. That's my takeaway from the latest results of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, a project of the University of Michigan's business school.

The survey, based on lengthy interviews conducted with a randomly chosen sample of U.S. consumers, covers a different set of industries each quarter. Its latest findings, released today, cover computers, cars, major appliances, Web search engines and Web news sites.

Let's start with the ACSI data on personal computers. As I noted in my writeup of the study's findings two years ago, Apple continues to fare well. It earned a customer-satisfaction score of 84 out of 100 (down 1 from last year), with Dell in second place at 75. Everybody else -- including Hewlett-Packard's HP and Compaq brands, Acer's Gateway brand and "All Others" -- tied for third at 74, which in some cases represented a notable improvement for those makers.

In comments posted to the site, Claes Fornell, a professor of business administration at Michigan and director of the school's National Quality Research Center, gave credit to the builders of Windows-based computers while noting the unusual size of Apple's lead:

Customer satisfaction with PCs improved slightly after two years of decline, increasing 1.4% to an ACSI score of 75. Rising satisfaction among Windows-based machines drove the improvement. ... The satisfaction of Apple PC customers retreated slightly (down 1% to 84), but the small decline has done nothing to hurt the large lead Apple has enjoyed for six straight years over the Windows-based PC manufacturers. In fact, Apple's customer satisfaction lead is the second largest of any industry in ACSI -- only Southwest Airlines' advantage over its closest rival is bigger.

The rest of the survey, as ever, is worth a look, too.

For example, it suggests that fans of Apple may want to think twice about calling the Mac the Cadillac or the Lexus of computers, as those two makes earned scores of 89 in the ACSI's "Automobiles & Light Vehicles" survey. Lincoln-Mercury, Honda, BMW, Buick, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen also scored over Apple's 84, while Hyundai tied that number. Nissan had the lowest score, at 78 -- still better than any non-Apple vendor.

(Apple could fairly call itself the Whirlpool of computer makers -- that major-appliance maker had a score of 83 in the ACSI's findings -- but that doesn't sound quite as impressive.)

In "Internet Portals & Search Engines," Google once again easily beat competitors with a score of 86; second-place Yahoo trailed badly at 77. Other sites, such as Microsoft's MSN (its new, considerably improved Bing didn't show up in the results), Ask.com and AOL were down in the mid or low 70s.

And in "Internet News & Information," USA Today's site had a score of 74, trailed slightly by the sites of the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and ABC News. If only a news site could satisfy customers as much as GM's soon-to-be-shuttered Pontiac division (ACSI score: 81) ... well, maybe the journalism business wouldn't be in such rotten shape. Sigh.

Do the ACSI numbers seem right to you? Tell me why or why not in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 18, 2009; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Computers  
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Comments

As a computer consultant who works with both Mac and Windows, I'd say the numbers are about right -- but the Apple lead reflects the quality of their marketing as much as the quality of their products. I just spent 15 minutes with a client trying to pry a CD out of her Macbook, a design flaw that's been present in Mac laptops for many years. But she blames herself instead of the product, probably because Apple marketing successfully convinces people the products are perfect.

Posted by: vendor2 | August 18, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the perception of Apple is frequently different than the reality of Apple. Anecdotal stories of course aren't representative of people's experiences as a whole, but my girlfriend has had far more problems with her Mac than her mom has had with her $500 Toshiba.

I also own a MacBook Pro and love it, but it's not nirvana and neither is Windows unusable. There is a weird bias that the, admittedly effective, Apple marketing machine feeds and exploits. For instance Rob Pegararo doesn't hide his biases but even though I also love my Mac I wish the media was less obsequious when it came to reporting about Apple. One Walt Mossberg is more than enough in this world.

With regards to perception, when Rob Pegararo had problems recently with his iMac (I believe) he cheerfully reported that rebooting "solved" the problem. Judging by his frequently snide comments about Windows if the problem were with a Windows box the tone would've been very different along the lines of complaining that he had to reboot to solve the problem rather than being relieved. Perception is reality in this game I guess, but I really wish the writers who are supposed to be helping average consumers would leave their fanboyism at home. It's unseemly and unprofessional because your value is in your independence not your ability to suckle a corporate teat. Still love my Mac though.

Posted by: scarper86 | August 18, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

re: Scarper86, we usually try to keep the tone around here, well...a little more elevated..respect for different opinions but name calling is a bit much.

Posted by: tbva | August 18, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I like the design of apple, apple usually regards users' experience and it's happy to play apple products.There are more and more apple application software to serve users.if you want to transfer HD TV to other video formats on Mac, you can use this software:HD Video Converter for Mac.If you want to transfer iphone data to Mac, just use this software:iphone to pc.

Posted by: softwaresoda168 | August 18, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Dude, apple better have the best support because hey, you're getting ripped off for the actual hardware you're buying. Don't get me wrong, a 13 inch macbook would be a dream computer of mine, but currently I am stuck with crappy HP's because I can afford them. Anywho, apple should aim to keep this going up, because they charge thousands of dollars for a logo.

Posted by: BMACattack | August 19, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I've owned many Macs and PCs, and have helped friends deal with both. In recent years, my experience hands down is that Macs are more stable, easier to operate, have better software included, and generally suffer much, much less down time than PCs.

While there are mac nuts, what seems really weird to me is the legion of Mac haters. People who haven't even seriously used a Mac attack the machine like Republicans attack communists. They even need to explain away years of consistently superior customer satisfaction surveys favoring Macs by unusually large margins. Go figure. Go buy antivirus software. Go complain about Vista. I do like my Mac experience.

Posted by: DanielSanDiego | August 19, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

BMACattack, you're paying for more than the individual components. You're getting a better, less fussy OS, a cleaner design, quality engineering, etc. IMO it's been worth every penny because of the increased productivity. If you do like the 13" MacBook you can get one for $999, which isn't too bad. I love my black MacBook. My wife loves her newer aluminum unibody one. And my Mac Pro is an absolute monster.

Posted by: nonagon | August 19, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Honda traditionally outranks even BMW & Mercedes, especially in returning percentage of purchase price and parts are no where near as expensive.

The April ed. of Consumers Reports routinely makes Honda the world's best made car, so it is a matter of curiosity how the other brands rate equal in this review.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | August 19, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps HP, Dell & Sony would be the Hondas of personal computing, but then I know nothing about European computer brands.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | August 19, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Woops, --- seems that I forgot Apple

BUT THEN AGAIN

Apple, in my OPINION, has a much higher profit markup per unit than Dell, Hp & even Sony. THAT DROPS THE OVERALL EVALUATION -- IN MY OPINION.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | August 19, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

The math emporium at Virginia Tech is a student computer lab with 550 Macs. The people who run it have found that by using Macs, their tech support costs are 1/3 of the costs of running a Windows-based computer lab. The cost of the machines is obviously greater up front, but it pays off in less tech support and hassle for machines that are routinely used vigorously by thousands of different users each semester.

Posted by: mkwil1 | August 19, 2009 6:45 AM | Report abuse

The problem with BMW and Mercedes is the dealers. Folks put up with dealers who customer service sucks. Sales pukes who say I can't sell you a car for that if wnat to feed my family. Sorry guy I don't care if your family eats but it would help if you got back on the happy hours you attend. Then once you buy the vehicle you have to deal with their wonderful service dpeartments. Service advisers that don't have a clue and line mechanics who make over a $100k who are more interested in billable hours then in fixing the problem.

Most line mechanics at a dealership get halp the labor rate and bill over 40 hrs a week. Sorry we couldn't duplicate the problem. So you go out to your car the problem is happens and your drag the service manager by the short hairs and say problem fing duplicated punk!

American Service Center is best High end dealer in the area.

Now my Aston Martin dealer great and my DBS is very reliable as is my girlfriends Range Rover.

Posted by: omarthetentmaker | August 19, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

i personally don't care what anyone uses for their computing or driving or laundry, whatever. one of the best things about living in the US of A is choice. you can pretty much buy/use whatever works for you for whatever reason-cheaper, faster, prettier, etc... & be happy, if not take it back & get something different. as for me, i've owned Macs for over 15 years, initially buying friends' old ones as they upgraded. the old ones still run & perform well w/in the limitations of their hardware & software. over the last 7 years as i've bought new Macs, i appreciate Apple/Mac even more. they aren't perfect but, overall the total experience--the relative ease of use, simplicity, loss of down-time, great tech support & bonus good looks in both hardware & software have been worth what i paid for them.

i've consistently bought & used Macs because they do pretty much just work. i do audio & video for a living. i recently bought an older Windows XP box. a cousin(he's a tech w/ certifications) configured it for me so i can watch TNT/TBS programming online, because it's all Windows DRM'd & i need IE. i can't imagine doing some of the stuff i do on my Macs using any version of Windows on any Dell or Gateway, etc... because just doing something simple like trying to watch "The Closer" in fullscreen makes me ask "what were these people thinking?!" when i hit the 'fullscreen' button on the video window, should i have to deal w/ some annoying, redundant dialog box that says "You are about to enter fullscreen mode." well, i know that! that's why i clicked the button. granted, this is my 1st experience w/ a Windows PC & i'm not familiar enough w/ the platform to set preferences but, if this is any sort of indicator as to the norm or quality of the Windows experience, it's enough reason for me to stick w/ Apple/Macs for doing my real work & the rest of my entertainment.

Posted by: dkjazz3 | August 19, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Got to agree with DanielSD. What's interesting about the PC crowd is that they refuse to believe anything good about Apple when Apple is doing them a huge favor as far as service goes. I know in my PC days when I had a problem (under warranty) I'd get "It's a hardware problem" - from MS; "It's a software problem" from the computer seller. And there would never be an agreement to have a conference call and I'd have to pray to get someone willing to go the extra mile. And during the entire episode rarely would I speak with a native English speaker.

Apple raised the bar as far as service goes, they made a dent in market share because of this reputation which forced MS and PC makers to get their act in gear. But the pc users insecurities about Apple is equal parts sad and funny because it demonstrates a lot of ignorance/naivete on their part.

In the end I'm glad I've got a Mac - not perfect by a long shot but much closer than those I've found in the PC world.

Posted by: Leofwine | August 19, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

About 7 years ago, a gentleman asked me about his Dell computer (itself an older machine, unable to run XP). I told him the easy solution was to get another Dell. He restated the question to, what kind of machine did I have? A bunch, running an array of operating systems. What for personal use? I told him I used a Mac. Somewhat miffed, he wanted to know why...

Because I care and feed for many client machines running NT/2000/XP. Frankly, I was tired of doing that at home, too. So I got a Mac, and even with the problems, it just gets in and goes. System depends quite heavily on Apple, but I am happy for every minute of freedom from work.

Posted by: thatGuyinSW | August 19, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

As usual, people praise their without ever analyzing each side. PC users rightfully bash the Mac on price and lack of software, while Mac users rightfully bash PCs on stability. Ease of use is full of too many personal preferences to fairly side with one or the other ... its what you know best. What is funny is the bashing and praising of each platform is based on the same coin. Macs cost more because the build rate is much smaller. They also use few cutting edge parts that would validate the price, because it allows them to provide perfect drivers. This increases stability, at the cost of freedom. Also they get fewer software options as well, because of the smaller install base. This protects them on the software front, because there is no money to be made by professional hackers breaking Mac systems. Both Macs and PCs do the same thing, and sans poor drivers and issues between the keyboard and chair, they are equivalent. In the end, PCs provide more options in price, power, and compatibility than Macs, at the cost of stability. Yes, you can run Windows on a Mac, but then you are just using an overpriced PC with no advantages. It is the software that makes the Mac more stable, the hardware is the same.

Posted by: Sm4rt3rTh4nY0u | August 19, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@ vendor2 I assume that you at least tried to hold down the F12 key, which causes the CD to eject (it's a serious question ... I've come across tech support people who didn't know that)? Held down the trackpad button while restarting? A quick Google search provides lots of methods short of physically prying out the disc.

Yes, the MacBook Pro costs a bit more than other laptops, but the body is a solid piece of aluminum, not separate plastic pieces screwed together. That costs more, but it makes for a much more durable machine. Just pick one up. The difference is obvious.

Although Mac fans can be over the top, nothing is worse than the condescension of people who think that Mac users are just suckers for marketing. Apparently, we are so influenced by marketing that we have higher levels of customer satisfaction even after we buy and use the machine regularly? Please.

Surely, it CAN'T be that Mac users actually are just happier with their computers on average. No, the users must be dumb.

Posted by: jkh1970 | August 19, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey Rob,

Thanks for the article, I enjoy your columns and read them whenever they come out.

RE All: Take a moment to read a few of the comments in past posts. I find it interesting that many comments posts turn into MAC vs Windows... in the end it's a matter of preference. Get over it.

Posted by: JFSV | August 19, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Ever notice that all the Switchers go from a Windows PC to an Apple Mac, and never the other way? Ever wonder why?

Posted by: TheBabu | August 19, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I just purchased my sixth Mac, a MacBook Pro with the 13 inch screen. Bought my first Mac in 1986. So far this looks like the best machine they've made.

I do have one gripe though. They post a lot of information on their help pages at mac.com. It's terribly organized. Rarely do I get an answer from that source. Maybe they should outsource the organization of their material to Google.

Posted by: bobocar | August 19, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

With computers, you basically get what you pay for. Most PC are built to the lowest possible price and it shows. My last three Dells have all had mother board failure due to bad soldering even with an additional fan. PC's have become disposable goods unfortunately, more expensive to fix than to replace.

Posted by: mdembski1 | August 19, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Comparing satisfaction rates between news sites, computers and cars is really comparing apples and oranges.

Free news sites, mid-priced computers and autos that start in the mid-teens are completely different experiences with a completely different set of built-in expectations.

We access news sites via PC's, PDA's, and smart phones. The expectation is low and consumer satisfaction is not so high either.

Purchased Apple computers or PC's are another whole dimension. We have spent good money on the hardware and software and expect it to be dependable, intuitive, and forgiving. Expectations are higher to start with and when the machine or program balks, we are incensed.

Purchased vehicles are again in an entirely elevated category. Buying a new car is expensive and sometimes outrageously expensive. Expectations are for a perfect driving experience. The fact that car companies have delivered is not surprising. Consumers won't spend large sums on cars that don't deliver.

Posted by: DaveinStLouis | August 19, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

In Al Ries and Jack Trout's wonderful book "The 22 Immutable Rules of Marketing," Chapter 4, the Law of Reality, sums it up perfectly: "Reality is ignorable; perception is everything." That's what surveys like this show. Apple has built a solid reputation that has lead to the perception of being darned near perfect!
As current owner of 6 Macs (home office) and having not purchased a PC for almost 10 years now, I know Macs are not perfect, but they are a lot better than the other choice. However, the perception of a Mac owner is interesting. Sitting in a meeting when you have the only Mac is fun - you are perceived as being more cool - willing to pay extra for style and performance - and you get questions like "Do Macs really not suffer from virus attacks?" or "Do you have compatibility problems with PCs?" (Nope - I develop educational curriculum used on both PCs and Macs, so I know.)
In reality, I buy Macs because in my experience they are better - software and hardware are more compatible because of the control Apple exerts. And I'm willing to pay extra for the hardware because it looks better - no PC maker matches Apple's style - even the Ferrari-branded ACER - and works better and is more reliable. The usefulness of a Mac is wonderful - my old iBook is my radio in the living room, an Airport brings music to other rooms, iPhoto manages my photos better than anything else I've tried. My iPod ( got 3 of those) makes 4200 songs available in my car (BTW, Ford and Microsoft's SYNC may be the best thing Microsoft ever did.)
In case you think I'm some young dude who wants to be in style, I learned programming in 1962 from IBM on computers with tubes! Apple has verrrry broad appeal!

Posted by: jeh1 | August 19, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"I just spent 15 minutes with a client trying to pry a CD out of her Macbook, a design flaw that's been present in Mac laptops for many years."

You are doing it wrong. Perhaps what Apple has fallen short on is in training those who call themselves computer consultants and work on Macs.

Posted by: JoelB8 | August 19, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

After decades upon decades of living in the PC world, I finally bought a Mac (24" desktop model). I am deliriously thrilled with it. I only use the PC side (with XP, thankfully, and *not* Vista) for software that I need to use (mainly Timeslips) for which there is not a version for the Mac.

Yes, it was more expensive up front, but I no longer am spending my days on the phone with people in Bangalore -- all of whom give me entirely different information for the same problem. That's a much, much bigger cost. My Mac has already paid for itself many times over. I love it!

Posted by: -ftb- | August 19, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see a survey not of overrall satisfaction with the product, but rather of quality of tech support. I would say Apple would be about a 95 and the next closest would be about 50.

I bought my first Mac a few months ago. AppleCare always answers within 3 minutes; the reps all speak fluent English; they will help you with hardware, software, or "how to" questions; and they are knowledgeable. Compare that to Dell and the rest. I'll never buy another Windows machine.

Posted by: chevychase10 | August 19, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

i've been using macs for 25 years now, pcs for 20. my last pc finally died, and i have no plans to replace it. i am such a sucker for marketing.

i've also had to reload the windows machines many times over the years. the macs may cost more up front, but it's hard to put a price on the time and data lost to pc crashes and viruses. the one time i've had mac hardware problems i had time machine installed and restoring was a breeze.

Posted by: rm0659 | August 19, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I could have written the comment by thatGuyinSW. I have PCs because I have to for my work, but "my" computer is a Macbook. After fixing PC problems during the day, I want an effortless computer for myself. I don't buy Apple products for the name or the 'cool' factor, either: there's more of a learning curve--and there are a few more problems--than most fanboys/girls will admit. But honestly, there's no contest that macs are superior. The price thing? It's offset by the mac's included software to a great degree. Still higher, but not as much as people think, when software and downtime are considered. I had to chuckle at TheBabu's comment that people only move in one direction between macs and PCs. True that.

Posted by: 5232news | August 19, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I wonder why Lenovo does not show up near the top of ACSI's survey. Consumer Reports regularly ranks Lenovo near the top for laptop SUPPORT satisfaction. I guess the difference is that ACSI's measurement of "customer satisfaction" is broader than support, and perhaps "PC" in the context of ACSI means desktops and not laptops.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | August 19, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I use Windows at work and have owned Macs since they first came out in 1985. I wouldn't use a PC at home if you gave it to me for free! The number of security updates that have to be installed continually on the PC at work would be enough to drive me crazy at home.

Given the ongoing expansion in Apple's computer market share in recent years, especially among previous PC users, the fact that overall approval dropped only slightly is proof positive that the overwhelming majority of PC users are happy after they switch to the Mac.

Posted by: genetee | August 19, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

re: Scarper86, we usually try to keep the tone around here, well...a little more elevated..respect for different opinions but name calling is a bit much.

Posted by: tbva | August 18, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@tbva
Scarper's tone, despite your interpreting it otherwise, is "elevated" just fine. As another poster pointed out, nearly all discussions here devolve into fanboi-isms. Scarper's points are insightful and reasonably presented. Disagreeing is one thing; pompous dismissiveness is quite another.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | August 19, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

No surprise to me to see HP losing ground. They drank the Kool Aid by standing behind Vista and offering no XP option in their notebooks. How did they overlook what a bad o/s Vista is?

Posted by: mymymichl | August 20, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

THE ONE THING I HAVE NOT SEEN COMMENTED ON IN THIS CHAIN IS :

If PC folks would solve mucho Microsoft problems by installing Linux, say Ubuntu or whatever, can a MacBook or Mac generally also run both OS-X and Ubuntu in a partitioned operating system, as would be the case on a PC running XP & Ubuntu?

If so, one gets Apple quality but is not stuck with Apple only software.

COMMENTS ???

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | August 20, 2009 2:44 AM | Report abuse

OmarTheTentMaker

Try taking your car to a private mechanic instead of the dealer mechanics.

American Foreign Car at roughly 9th & V Streets, N.W., usually gets it right with Mercedes as well as Hondas and they are 1 block from the U Street Green line. There prices are also much better.

Ask for Pedro. Tell him brucerealtor suggested him.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | August 20, 2009 2:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm satisfied with my Macs. I have had at least a dozen over the years and they have largely been both workhorses and beauties. My current setup, a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro, is ideal.

But, I do have criticisms of Apple products.

• I wish it was possible to permanently store multimedia on Apple TV only, instead of having it on both a computer's hard drive and Apple TV. Wastes space.

• Mobile Me, which still has problems, is overpriced. There is also virtually no customer support for it.

• Apple should make full multitouch backwards compatible for 2007 and 2008 laptops' trackpads. (It is confusing to go from full multitouch to limited multitouch on my two MacBooks.)

• It should be possible to do partial restorations from Time Machine.

Posted by: query0 | August 20, 2009 3:14 AM | Report abuse

The reason for all "the Mac haters" is because Macs cost double what a PC costs, and so are unaffordable to most people. I would prefer a Mac, but use a PC because that's what I can afford.

Posted by: jcluma | August 20, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

re:Sm4rt3rTh4nY0u and your comment about…quote: "It is the software that makes the Mac more stable, the hardware is the same." endquote.

I am afraid that you have blundered and made a typical PC user's error! Apple designs its own hardware, even though it is manufactured in China (to a large extent). Apple is extremely critical of its components, as it makes sure that every combination should work properly. Not the cheapest lot available at the time they are needed. So you get a computer and components that are made by the people who ALSO design the software… the result is that everything works as it should - even though there are some defects - it is not a perfect world!

I also run Windows XP Pro in my Mac, as I need one program that works faster in a Windows environment. Just one! But I CAN do it on a Mac, if I choose!

Posted by: granmar | August 20, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Re: query0: quote: … "It should be possible to do partial restorations from Time Machine." endquote.

You can do a partial restore from Time Machine if you wish. I do it regularly for many of my clients, when they have inadvertently had a loss of data. Not only that, but I can do it remotely from my office and not leave my home!

Just locate the problem data and "Restore" it to its proper location!!! Exactly how Apple said it should be done - learn properly before blurting out false information!

Posted by: granmar | August 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

-ftb-

Try this link: copy and paste it into Safari (or other browser)
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Mac+OS+X+software+for+Timeslips&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

You might not need PC software again!

Posted by: granmar | August 20, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Finally, a comment with respect to the reason for the topic. I think that Apple deserves the rating of about 85%. The company is NOT perfect, but is a very reliable one, and its products out last the competition by about 2.5 to 1 in terms of durability and usefulness.

I first used a Mac BEFORE it was officially marketed, in 1983, when the Lisa was in its short heyday. You see, I actually helped establish Apple Computer (Canada) Inc. in Toronto, as part of the team (from the US), during 1981/2, as well as the Eastern Canadian Maritime Provinces.

Apple rated its AppleCare program based on approximately 0.5% requiring service! That is pretty impressive - they cared about quality above appearance, even though appearance is still important. The ACSI rating in my opinion is about right.

Why? Computers are not cars (automobiles) and they tend to go wrong more often than vehicles. They are used more thoroughly that cars! Every day for the greater part of the day! So, it would appear that computers users' satisfaction might rate a car higher (seemingly fewer problems per year owned than a computer!). Yes, marketing plays a part in people's image of a company, but only a part!

Thanks for accommodating me!

Posted by: granmar | August 20, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that both Apple and Southwest have cult-like followings. Perception dictates reality - at least in the mind. The perception, exacerbated by membership in the 'club,' helps push up customer-satisfaction scores.

Keepers of the brand should be most mindful of the 'position' it owns in its prospects' and customers' minds. It's no accident that Apple and Southwest outperform their competition - year after year. They are both great marketers. They understand the power of positioning. They both know what 'position' they own. They are both tightly focused on strengthening those positions. At every touchpoint with their constituents, their positions are entrenched ever deeper.

Dick Maggiore, President & CEO, Innis Maggiore

Posted by: maggiore | August 20, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I wished to use a apple pc, but it's too expensive.
Commented by: MKV

Posted by: softwaresoda168 | August 24, 2009 5:04 AM | Report abuse

I started out with the original IBM PC and command-line DOS in 1982 and have lived hopefully with Microsoft (and its retinue of anti-spyware/virus-fixit-registry tweaker tools) ever since. But, when my 5-year-old Dell crashed in May I finally gave up and bought a MacBook aluminum 13". My assessment: I never had it so good. The (huge) company I work for has a vast network of PCs, so I move back and forth between the two environments every day. This keeps me constantly aware of the Mac's great virtue: its user interface design and engineering. Function sequences are simple and clear, potential errors are flagged in advance, everything is visual, you always know where you are and it takes real effort to make a serious mistake. Plus, the Mac finds networks instantly, links to and manages peripherals flawlessly and, in general, has a near-zero frustration factor. It costs a lot more than a PC, but it's worth every penny. EVERY penny.

Posted by: PhilipL42 | August 25, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

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