updated 08:00 am EDT, Tue August 19, 2008
Apple Tops ACSI Scores
The American Customer Satisfaction Index on Tuesday gave Apple its highest-ever score for pleasing customers of its Macs, giving the firm a record 85 points in the ACSI annual report based on reactions from users to both their opinions on computer quality as well as support after the sale. The award is Apple's fifth consecutive nod in as many years and is partly attributed to the sales success of its computers, which have been gaining marketshare in recent months.
Much of the success, however, may be attributed as much to a hostile reaction to Windows Vista as to any virtues of the Mac, the ACSI explains. Apple was the only firm aside from Dell to see an increase in its score, jumping eight percent versus 2007 and obtaining a full 10-point lead over its Texas-based rival. The margin is one of the most significant "in any industry" covered by the ACSI, according to the report.
Other major Windows PC builders dropped during the one-year span, with HP and its Compaq sub-label dipping four percent to 73 and 70 points respectively while Gateway dipped a similar amount to 72 percent. ACSI head and University of Michigan Professor Claes Fornell makes a tentative link between the "halo" effect of Apple's other products as well as poor experiences with Vista.
"This is product extension at its best where the new products, iPod and iPhone, are helping bring new customers to existing computer products," Professor Fornell says. "The fact that Apple is not dependent on the Windows Vista operating system hasn’t hurt either."
The scoring potentially deepens the blow to public perception for Microsoft's latest operating system, which was hampered throughout much of 2007 by driver and software incompatibility as well as performance issues that partly stemmed from arbitrarily lowered requirements that left many budget PCs running Vista at speeds Microsoft itself considered unacceptable. The software developer has since taken steps to improve overall performance for Vista through Service Pack 1 and has launched a large-scale marketing campaign meant specifically to heal Vista's public image, which it believes is now unfair.