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Apple loses customer satisfaction points

Apple experienced a dip in customer satisfaction rankings during the second quarter, as Windows-based PC vendors saw slight improvements — yet the increases were not enough to displace Apple from the lead spot.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for the second quarter, customer satisfaction with Apple fell 1% from previous polls as vendors such as Gateway and HP won greater approval from their PC customers. Apple's ranking was 84, followed by Dell at 75 and then Compaq (HP), HP and Gateway (Acer) all at 74.

“The small decline has done nothing to hurt the large lead Apple has enjoyed for six straight years over the Windows-based PC manufacturers,” a commentary on the ACSI findings reads. “Apple's customer satisfaction lead is the second largest of any industry in ACSI — only Southwest Airline's advantage over its closest rival is bigger.”

Windows-based PC manufacturers are doing something right though. Following two years of decline, customers became more pleased with Windows-based PCs from Gateway, which saw a 3% improvement in customer satisfaction ratings. HP experienced a 1% increase and Dell maintained its previous position. One probable reason for HP inching up: it has been offering customers less expensive Compaq laptops, with some notebooks at less than $300.

Still, Apple continues to lead the market due to integration among its consumer products such as iPhone and iPod, which is driving phone and music buyers to also consider Apple the vendor of choice for PCs. “Despite the recession, Apple has posted strong financial results, with profits up 15% for the second quarter and the sales of Mac computers have increased, while competitors' sales have shrunk,” according to ASCI.

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