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Corporate PC buyers unhappy

Corporate satisfaction with computer products is slipping, according to a new market research study.

Corporate satisfaction with PC products is slipping, according to an upcoming market research study.

Business buyers are increasingly unhappy with the notebooks and desktops they purchase, reports Technology Business Research (TBR). The New Hampshire-based firm says 15 percent of its sampling of 200 businesses changed brands in the past year.

Quite a few companies recently replaced Compaq products with other brands, according to the study. Dell picked up a good chunk of the notebook business, while Dell, IBM, and others gained in the desktop segment.

A substantial amount of customer unhappiness predictably has to do with service and price, said Julie Perron, TBR's manager of primary research. "With Compaq, the main problems are service, repair time, and also reliability and price. "Compaq dropped the most, and in the most categories. Dell hardly dropped at all," she said.

Of those who switched notebooks, 44 percent left Compaq while 32 percent made Dell their new choice. More wide-ranging changes hit in desktops. While 30 percent of all defectors replaced Compaqs, another 26 percent added PCs from the Houston-based manufacturer.

Twenty-two percent of companies replaced Gateway, while no Gateways were added. About 15 percent moved away from IBM, but 33 added Big Blue. Dell was replaced by 4 percent but added by a significant 30 percent.

IBM scored tops in notebook satisfaction, with Dell gaining on the strength of improved reliability and lowered cost-of-ownership scores. In desktops, the Round Rock, Texas, direct vendor came out on top of the heap due to on-time delivery, reliability, and volume discounting. IBM and Hewlett-Packard also did well.

HP doesn't sell enough portables to rate in TBR's notebook poll. And longtime notebook market leader Toshiba saw its scores drop, though the Japanese firm principally sells to smaller businesses and consumers.

The survey also covered PC servers, but unsurprisingly the findings show that satisfaction with purchases typically depends on vendor service. Only 6 percent of buyers switched brands in the past year, though again principally at the expense of Compaq.

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