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Latest ACSI survey shows PC vendors doing better but still trailing Apple

Our computers' latest approval ratings are in from the University of Michigan's American Consumer Satisfaction Index, and for once they offer good news for both Apple and competitors who sell Windows PCs.

The ACSI's results, based on phone surveys in which respondents are asked to rank their satisfaction with various brands from 0 to 100, have Apple once again leading the personal-computers category with a score of 86.

But this time around, four of the five Windows-based options--Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard's HP brand and "all others"--each gained two to three points to tie at 77, while HP's Compaq brand held steady at 74. One year ago, Apple scored 84 and no PC vendor got higher than 75.

Overall satisfaction with personal computers ratcheted up 4 points to an all-time high of 78.

In an attached commentary, Michigan professor Claes Fornell noted the iPad's role in Apple's continued dominance, writing, "No other company in the ACSI has as formidable a lead within its own industry." In the Windows end of the market, Fornell credited Microsoft's Windows 7 with a healthy amount of credit for manufacturers' better scores.

Fornell also observed a continued problem for the industry, tech support: "Owners who had reason to contact customer care or technical help lines were 8% less satisfied than those who had no post-purchase contact with the manufacturer or retailer."

This quarter's ACSI findings also covered major appliances. And once again, we seem to like our ovens, dishwashers and refrigerators more than most of our computers. Whirlpool led the category at 83, with "All Others" and GE close behind at 81 and AB Electrolux in fourth at 79.

But don't let one university's findings tell you how to feel about your tech purchases (especially, I suppose, if you went to Ohio State). What's your own satisfaction, on a scale of 0 to 100, with your current home computer?

By Rob Pegoraro  | September 21, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Computers, Recommended reading  
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Just out of curiosity, wouldn't the nature of the survey (phone) skew/bias the results? I wonder how the results would look if this survey was conducted electronically, or through mixed methods.

Posted by: JL111 | September 21, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I have a 2006 Mac Pro 2 x 2.66GHz dual core Xeon that's still going strong over a year after the AppleCare warranty expired. I did use the extended warranty once to replace a faulty power supply at the local Apple Store but aside from that, have had zero problems with the hardware and love Mac OS X's trojan- malware- & virus-free operation. I'd give it and my other two Macs + iPad an 85 on customer satisfaction.

I hope you'll follow up with reporting on Consumer Reports, JD Power and other ratings reports on customer satisfaction with their computers.

Posted by: l4rryb4 | September 22, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what would have happened if Apple and Microsoft dominance were reversed. I can see a world where laptop and desk top computers would cost $10k (if there were laptops). I can also see where there would be almost not software companies and what little software there would be would be available only from Apple. I can also see that the US would not have been the driving force in developing computers or software.

Posted by: Curly4 | September 22, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

PC are fine and long as Linux is an option...

Posted by: rw62827 | September 22, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This is a nit that always gets me. When did Mac cease being a personal computer?

If you use it for personal use in the home, it is a PC.

It's not some big mainframe or mini from years gone by, or some cluster notion from today.

Mac's are PC's.
Linux Machines (of which Mac's are a subset) are PC's.
Windows Machines are PC's.

Posted by: kolbkl | September 22, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

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