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Apple more lovable than other PC makers, survey says

According to a newly released survey by Forrester Research, Apple was the top PC maker with the Customer Experience Index score of 80 percent.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Apple fanboys, I have something for you.

According to data released by Forrester Research on Friday, during 2008 Apple enjoyed a decisive lead in the firm's Customer Experience Index (or CxPi). In short, this means Apple is supposedly the most lovely PC maker in the world, while Dell is the worst.

Forrester conducted its survey in October 2008 by asking 4,564 U.S. consumers about their interactions with a variety of companies, gauging the usefulness, usability, and enjoyability of those experiences. Based on these consumer responses, the firm calculated the CxPi for 113 firms in 12 different industries, including PC makers.

The ratings were compiled based on the answers to the following three questions: How effective was the company at meeting your needs? How easy was it to work with this firm? And how enjoyable were the interactions? Participants selected responses to these queries from a five-point scale. The individual indexes were calculated by taking the percentage of consumers who selected one of the top two points and subtracting from that the percentage of consumers who selected one of the bottom two points.

The research firm concluded in its report that Apple--whose rating is 80 percent, which is 14 points higher than that of the next firm on the list, Gateway--is the only PC vendor that earned a rating of "good"; the rest, including Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, and Dell ended up with designations of either "OK" or "Poor." Apple's reported "ease of use" largely helped it take the lead.

Personally, I think it's interesting that Apple was put in the PC-makers group despite the fact the that company itself has consistency avoided "PC" as a label, and makes an effort to be in a different category. A while ago, Greenpeace also lumped Apple in with PC manufacturers in its Guide to Greener report.

While both Macs and PCs are designed to do pretty much the same thing, the PC industry consists of thousands of different hardware and software vendors around the world. Apple, on the other hand, exists in a very controlled environment in which it's the only company that makes Macs. This means Apple has significant advantages over PC makers when it comes to user experience; thus it should probably be considered in a category of its own.

It is also interesting that Forrester's survey looked at HP and Compaq as two separate companies, considering HP acquired Compaq way back in 2001.

Nonetheless, the results of Forrester's survery clearly indicate that that PC makers have a lot of work to do to make their customers happy. I think they should start by not selling their computers preloaded with a lot of junk software.