PC Magazine Poll: Apple Tops in Tech Support

Apple received a 9.1 overall rating in technical support by over 20,000 PC Magazine readers in its latest poll. No other vendor came close.

The bad news for Appleis desktop competition is that many of the overall scores went down from 2006 while Apple held on to its overall score.

"Why are readers so grumpy this year? Simply put, more and more Windows PCs require tech support just to set them up properly or, worse yet, require a full-on repair," Eric Griffith wrote.

While Apple did lose some in other categories, PC Magazine noted that Apple gained in technical support and its strengths were surprising.

"Appleis desktop high marks extend even into areas we donit have room to print charts for, such as the 85 percent rating for the reliability of software included on the computer (aah, iLife), the 93 percent score for new desktops working right out of the box, and the 9 out of 10 score for the attitude of the tech-support provider. Even the Apple.com Web site gets kudos for how much information it makes available."

Meanwhile, readers reported that the overall reliability of Windows PCs is down.

Apple did just as well with notebooks: "Appleis overall notebook scores are, in fact, identical to last yearis, with the exception that it has fallen one-tenth of a point (to 8.4 out of 10) in tech support. This year enough readers volunteered info to give Apple a score for the quality of its repairs; at 8.1, itis still eight-tenths of a point better than the nearest repair score. And readers scored Mac notebooks a full 100 percent for ease of setup. Simply amazing."

In contrast, with the exception of Fujitsu, Gateway, and HP all Windows notebook manufacturersi overall scores are down. "Clearly, readers are less happy this year with their [notebook] computers," Mr. Griffith concluded.

The article has downloadable Excel spreadsheets for those who want to look at the details. Also included, as highlights, were some sad tales from the PC side including Vista woes and 400,000 support calls a week to Dell.

Another highlight of the survey was this summary statement from Mr. Griffith: "Whatis left to say? If you buy a Mac, not only will you in all likelihood love it, but youire also going to recommend it to your friends while enjoying all the time you can spend not fixing it."