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Apple wins laptop tech-support showdown

Apple topped the Tech Support Showdown conducted by Laptop magazine, which ranks 10 notebook companies in the industry.

If a top-notch customer support program is high on your list of features when buying a new computer, you should be looking at a Mac, according to a new ranking.

Laptop magazine's Tech Support Showdown 2009 rates 10 computer companies' tech support, with Apple coming out the overall winner. Apple's overall grade for 2009 was an "A," scoring an "A" for both phone and Web support.

"Apple has consistently offered some of the best Web and phone support of any computer vendor, and this year was no different," the magazine said in evaluating Apple. "Its Web site is brimming with well-ordered FAQs, query-based search, and PDF manuals, the latter of which quickly answered our external monitor question."

Apple also received "A" ratings in 2007 and 2008 from the magazine for its tech support.

Comparing it to the other companies involved in the showdown, Acer received a C-; ASUS (B-); Dell (C-); Fujitsu (B-); Gateway (B-); HP (C-); Lenovo (B+); Sony (B+); and Toshiba got a "B."

"Virtually no computer vendor--or retailer, for that matter--is immune from the wrath of users who have become intimately familiar with the 'Blue Screen of Death,' and other PC foibles," the magazine said in its introduction to the tests. "But, it's how manufacturers handle their customers' hardware and software problems that ultimately determine their true reliability, and, you would think, future sales."

Apple's support performance over the last few years, coupled with the popularity of the iPhone and iPod, have propelled Apple's Mac sales. In its 2009 fiscal third quarter, Apple reported selling 2.6 million Macs, up 4 percent from the year ago quarter.