If you're looking to keep that computer running smoothly, Apple is the one to turn to, says Consumer Reports. On Monday, the consumer advocacy publication announced that the company from Cupertino had once again topped a reader survey of the best computer tech support, even going so far as to beat its own scores from the previous year.
To the surprise of nobody who's actually paid attention to the PC market in the last several years, Apple beat out competitors Lenovo, Asus, Dell, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard/Compaq, and Acer/Gateway/eMachines by a healthy margin, scoring an 86 out of 100, which the publication describes as "very satisfied." The next closest brand was Lenovo, which scored only a 63, or "fairly well satisfied."
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According to Consumer Reports's data, Apple also solved a best-in-category 82 percent of readers' problems; the nearest PC brand was Dell, which reported 61 percent of problems solved. One wildcard? The second place result actually fell to local stores that built custom PCs, which scored a 78 out of 100 on Consumer Reports's scale, and solved 71 percent of problems brought to their attention.
Apple was also the only brand with positive standing in the phone support and online support categories, both of which achieved Better ratings; most of the company's counterparts registered the lowest possible rating in those areas. The Apple Store's Genius Bar also took home top honors for in-store support, solving 88 percent of problems, compared to 73 percent for Staples' EasyTech and 70 percent for Best Buy's Geek Squad.
The data's based on a survey of Consumer Reports Online subscribers in January 2013, covering technical support for desktops and laptops over the 12 months prior to the survey.
These results come at a time when Apple is among the few PC companies registering decent marks in sales. In the company's most recent quarter, Apple shipped just under 4 million Macs and, even down 2 percent year-over-year, it outperformed the PC market as a whole, which shrank nearly 14 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2013. Apple's reputation for good tech support and reliable products could certainly be part of the equation in keeping the company's sales strong.