Consumer Reports: Apple #1 in Tech Support

Based on 10,099 notebook and desktop computer owners who contacted customer support between September 2006 and January 2008, Consumer Reports found Apple to be number one in technical support. Lenovo came in second for notebook computers and Dell was second for desktops.

The findings will be published in the June, 2008 issue, and a copy was obtained by TMO.

Consumer Reports made the following observations in its report:

1. Appleis tech support solved the problem more than 80 percent of the time. This was much higher than the typical 60 percent achieved.

2. Appleis Genius Bar solved the problem 90 percent of the time, and the assistance is free.

3. In general, extended warranty plans "generally arenit good buys." Except for Apple. Consumer Reports recommends Appleis AppleCare primarily because free call-in technical support ends after 90 days (though the warranty is one full year) and because Appleis track record for solving problems under their extended warranty is "significantly better than for support without a plan, which is already a standout for Apple."

4. There were clear differences between computer manufacturers in technical support. Apple scored 83 for notebook computers while Lenovo scored only 66 and Dell 60. Hewlett-Packard was last, scoring 48. With Desktop computers, Apple scored 81 while Dell was second with a score of 56. H-P/Compaq was last with a score of 47.

Source: Consumer Reports, June 2008

Consumer Reports noted that data from a different survey showed that customers who had their computer repaired out of warranty were highly satisfied only about half the time. One in four were dissatisfied, complained about repairs taking ore than two weeks, the repairs being excessively expensive and being unsuccessful on the first try.

As a result of the scores, only Apple and Lenovo were cited as "Top Supporters" by Consumer Reports.