Apple easily outdistanced its peers in a PC industry customer-satisfaction survey conducted by Forrester Research that found PC companies are only slightly more well-liked than insurance companies.
An overall satisfaction rating of 80 percent was good enough for Apple to trounce the second-place finisher, Gateway, which scored 66 percent. Forrester surveyed 4,564 U.S. consumers online in October in compiling the results, which were published Friday on the research firm's Web site.
Apple and Gateway were followed by HP, Compaq, and Dell, respectively in the survey results. (Compaq, though part of HP, is generally counted separately in branding surveys because it is marketed very differently than HP-branded computers.) Gateway was the only Windows manufacturer to crack the 65 percent barrier, which is equivalent to an "okay" rating in Forrester's survey. Apple's 80 percent score fell into the "good" category.
The University of Michigan conducts a similar survey each summer and usually comes up with similar results: Apple leading the pack, but amid poor ratings for the overall industry. Only Internet service providers, cable/satellite companies, and health insurance companies scored worse as industries than the PC industry in Forrester's survey; even airlines scored better than PC companies.
The timing of Forrester's release of this data is likely not a coincidence, as Apple this week has responded to Microsoft's latest PC ad campaign with statements emphasizing the Mac experience. Poor customer satisfaction ratings are the downside of Microsoft's marketing message that Windows PCs are the bargain alternative to Macs, in that sometimes, you get what you pay for.