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MacBytes
Jul 20, 2005, 11:09 AM
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Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Apple climbs to 4th place in US PC sales (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20050720120921)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by arn

dizastor
Jul 20, 2005, 11:26 AM
this halo is rapidly turning into a mushroom cloud.

Moonlight
Jul 20, 2005, 11:26 AM
One down, three to go !

Nickygoat
Jul 20, 2005, 11:38 AM
It's great that Mac sales are rising but are patriotic US buyers leaving IBM after their sale to Lenovo?

Chrispy
Jul 20, 2005, 11:53 AM
I think it is great apple is moving up the ranks. However, with the poor level of customer service many are experiencing with Apple lately they really need to get their act together in that area. I think once Apple can improve their support and quality control they will be set for eventual domination. As much as it is painful to say, Apple should take a lesson from Dell... with as many computers as they sell I have never had a problem with their support staff. Apple holds a key weapon against Dell... Mac OS X and they just have a few tweaks and bugs to work out of their sales system to become a top dog. Better support, better quality control, and faster ship times on BTO products would make Apple an unstoppable force!

JonMaker
Jul 20, 2005, 12:03 PM
Not Badô. Three more to go.

devilot
Jul 20, 2005, 12:03 PM
I think it is great apple is moving up the ranks. However, with the poor level of customer service many are experiencing with Apple lately they really need to get their act together in that area. I think once Apple can improve their support and quality control they will be set for eventual domination. As much as it is painful to say, Apple should take a lesson from Dell... with as many computers as they sell I have never had a problem with their support staff. Apple holds a key weapon against Dell... Mac OS X and they just have a few tweaks and bugs to work out of their sales system to become a top dog. Better support, better quality control, and faster ship times on BTO products would make Apple an unstoppable force!
That's how I feel too. *shaking head* I haven't had the best experiences w/ Apple support and some of the hardware (quality control). And faster ship times? An obvious plus. Well said, Chrispy.

jholzner
Jul 20, 2005, 01:01 PM
As much as it is painful to say, Apple should take a lesson from Dell... with as many computers as they sell I have never had a problem with their support staff.

Really??

quote from the article

"This machine is a lemon. Your at-home and complete care service is a fraud. Your customer service is appalling. Your product is dreadful. Your brand is mud."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/11/dell_customer_support/

mkrishnan
Jul 20, 2005, 01:22 PM
It's great that Mac sales are rising but are patriotic US buyers leaving IBM after their sale to Lenovo?

Possibly, although in the long term, Lenovo is probably *the* one to watch. I would guess there might be a little corporate skittishness, but that there may also be some issues surrounding the uncertainty of lines Lenovo wants to keep from IBM and ones it wants to replace with hardware it manufactures and so on...especially in desktops.

Sharewaredemon
Jul 20, 2005, 01:30 PM
Really??

quote from the article

"This machine is a lemon. Your at-home and complete care service is a fraud. Your customer service is appalling. Your product is dreadful. Your brand is mud."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/11/dell_customer_support/


And from that article we have this (http://www.ehmac.ca/showthread.php?t=22). Though I love Applecare and their support, it's funny that something you posted as evidence links to something that makes Apple seem bad.

One thing I think is very important about Apple tech support (or most tech support out there) is to know what you are talking about, and email people with issue numbers.

TomSmithMacEd
Jul 20, 2005, 01:33 PM
I"ve never heard bad things, or recieved bad care from Apple support...

Maybe you just have a bad occourence. There will always be those.

nagromme
Jul 20, 2005, 01:42 PM
I think it is great apple is moving up the ranks. However, with the poor level of customer service many are experiencing with Apple lately they really need to get their act together in that area.

I believe those problems happen, but luckily they are the exception: people come to forums to vent and find solutions, not to post the "all is well." So forums don't offer a true picture of statistical trends.

In reality, Apple has the BEST support (and hardware reliability) of any PC maker, according to large-scale, repeated surveys done by Consumer Reports. FAR more effective than Dell in every category they measured.

See:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=1261805

But that's just the trend--there are always exceptions--sometimes really bad ones!--and bad people can be found at any company. Or good people making mistakes. I've had great experiences with Apple support, and heard plenty of Dell nightmares. But that's all just anecdotes, same as the people posting bad experiences with Apple.

Apple may lead the industry, but that doesn't help you one bit if your experience was against the trend. Very frustrating, I'm sure, and Apple can always stand to improve.

mkrishnan
Jul 20, 2005, 02:42 PM
Apple may lead the industry, but that doesn't help you one bit if your experience was against the trend. Very frustrating, I'm sure, and Apple can always stand to improve.

Nagromme, you made a lot of really good points, to which I just want to add that I think Apple leads the industry, but, especially with how these surveys work, that doesn't mean they're necessarily all that great. Just better than most others.

It sounds like a lot of people on MR have had negative experiences recently, but, above and beyond the statistics thing (we *do* have to be really careful to differentiate anecdotes and reliable trends...) people on MR are among the more demanding customers. I think if this were dellrumors.com :D then it would still be the same that our perception of Dell customer service would be even worse than the general perception of Dell customer service.

michaelrjohnson
Jul 20, 2005, 02:55 PM
...I just want to add that I think Apple leads the industry, but, especially with how these surveys work, that doesn't mean they're necessarily all that great. Just better than all others.
Just a slight modification. ;)

I guess my reaction to your post is that you're splitting hairs. When it comes to an issue as variable as "Customer Support" as well as "reliablity" there is a lot of variance in what an individual feels is fair, or even excellent service. Looking at the statistics show that Apple has a strong lead, and while they're nowhere near 100% in any area, it's almost impossible to get 100% satisfaction. So, "better than most others" really does indicate "best" and/or "great" service and support.

My $.02

mkrishnan
Jul 20, 2005, 03:09 PM
I guess my reaction to your post is that you're splitting hairs. When it comes to an issue as variable as "Customer Support" as well as "reliablity" there is a lot of variance in what an individual feels is fair, or even excellent service. Looking at the statistics show that Apple has a strong lead, and while they're nowhere near 100% in any area, it's almost impossible to get 100% satisfaction. So, "better than most others" really does indicate "best" and/or "great" service and support.

Point taken, that from a satisfaction viewpoint, Apple is very good. However, from a process quality standpoint, there are still a significant number of preventable errors -- failures of CSRs to have information available on hand, failure to adequately disperse and consistently apply policy, miscommunication on warranty authorizations, etc -- there is variability in how much these things annoy a customer, but there shouldn't be ambiguity that they are errors in the process. Even if they fail to annoy the customer, they lead to a differential cost of quality that impairs profits, at the least, and can lead to higher consumer cost, because they cause a customer interaction to require unnecessary repeat calls.

I don't think customer satisfaction is necessarily the right metric, all by itself, to judge Apple's process in this area. There has to be a part based on problem resolution. Then, Apple is good, and sure, is better than the rest of the industry, but is not nearly perfect.

Chrispy
Jul 20, 2005, 03:27 PM
I agree that all companies have issue in some areas with customer service. However, my personal experience with apple has been horrible. So horrible that my workplace went back to using Dell as a result of poor quality apple products and support. For example, I was told when buying a CTO powerbook that if it had a bad pixel I could return it. However, when it did come with a bad pixel Apple denied ever saying that. Thankfully I had the name and call time and date from the conversation prior and after pulling teeth with multiple supervisors I got a return. Then the next 3 units received had bad pixels as well. To me this means bad quality control. Out of the 7 Dell laptops recently received at my company, none of them had a bad pixel. Then we decided to move to using powermacs and the same problem occured. 4 powermacs in a row were bad and verified bad by an applecare genius in store. However, Apple would not let us do a refund and only a replacement (which took forever to get done). Finally, after the 4th unit arrived dead and applecare on the phone said "they could do nothing" I got a returns rep to let me do a return. We have since moved back to being entirely Dell based.

I ordered a Dell Dimension 9100 for doing work at home the other day and e-mailed Dell to ask what the return policy was in the event I needed to return. Dell gave me the answer and then offered me $100 back on my purchase for choosing Dell. The $100 credit posted on my charge card just a few days later... much unlike the credit I am still waiting for from apple after almost two weeks of the unit being sent back to them. grrrr

So, as you can see here for some people Apple's support is great but for me time and time again it was horrible. I have called Dell support many times over my time at my job and they have always been excellent and very helpful. Experiences really varry I guess so for those with good experiences with Apple, rock on!

Yvan256
Jul 20, 2005, 03:58 PM
It's great that Mac sales are rising but are patriotic US buyers leaving IBM after their sale to Lenovo?

Apple isn't "American" either... all their stuff is made in China too.

nagromme
Jul 20, 2005, 04:07 PM
I will agree that Apple is the best in a BAD industry.

Although, as I think about most of my customer service experiences, I think other industries may be EVEN worse than the computing industry :o

michaelrjohnson
Jul 20, 2005, 04:09 PM
snip
Wow. That is unfortunate.

I guess it goes to show that it goes both ways. Obviously the stats show that your experiences occur in a minority of cases (thank goodness! Ouch!), but it's important for us "pro-Apple" folk to take notice of these instances also.

Despite that my Apple support has been exactly the opposite (including $ credits), I hope that Apple's support gets better still.

michaelrjohnson
Jul 20, 2005, 04:10 PM
snip
Very well put. I agree.

Chrispy
Jul 20, 2005, 04:24 PM
Wow. That is unfortunate.

I guess it goes to show that it goes both ways. Obviously the stats show that your experiences occur in a minority of cases (thank goodness! Ouch!), but it's important for us "pro-Apple" folk to take notice of these instances also.

Despite that my Apple support has been exactly the opposite (including $ credits), I hope that Apple's support gets better still.

Well said. I sure hope that I am the minority for other people's sake and I am glad so many others have had great experiences with Apple. I will no doubt attempt to make the move back to Apple when the Intel products start to hit shelves for I feel the quality control may improve then. I think Apple makes beautiful products and if they keep improving in their weak areas they very well may move up the ranks to number one once again!

AlmostThere
Jul 20, 2005, 05:34 PM
Apple has the BEST support (and hardware reliability) of any PC maker, according to large-scale, repeated surveys done by Consumer Reports.

So horrible that my workplace went back to using Dell as a result of poor quality apple products and support.

I think this might be one of the differences.

For my own use, I am struggling to find Apple's next day on-site service for laptops (feel free to point it out, because I want to buy it, Applecare only offers this for desktops, as far as I can see).

Dell, by comparison, practically ram the options down your throat with support packages to support every level of use - the last support call had replacement hardware on-site and installed in less than 18 hours (evening call, delivery next morning).

When it comes to business use, I simply don't want to be left in the lurch without hardware and am way more influenced by the service offered when things go tits up, as they can with any manufacturer. Nor do I want to be forced into buying redundant hardware or rely on trying to source rare (i.e. Apple, certainly outside the US) hardware on loan - costly, in both time or money, options for anyone especially those working alone or in small organisations. It is such an issue (80% of the people I work with use laptops only) that it could easily tip the balance in choosing a machine.

By comparison, as a home user, I am perfectly satisfied with Apple support. A few days reverting to the PC or on an elderly HP laptop simply means a little hassle but it is no real crisis. You can always tie it it with a trip up to town (i.e. London) to drop by the Apple Store and chat with genius, check out the new gear.

swingerofbirch
Jul 20, 2005, 05:52 PM
Not Badô. Three more to go.


I don't want Apple to be number one. I like Apple as a slightly successful underdog. I want Apple trying to be number 1.

nagromme
Jul 20, 2005, 06:36 PM
Re Dell and on-site service--I can see the need for that for businesses. My business is PowerBook-based, and I'm able to use my eMac instead if I need to ship the PB away, but that doesn't mean I want to!

But with Dell it's especially needed... they have a 1 in 5 failure rate with laptops :o

(Speaking of "best of a bad industry.")

mkrishnan
Jul 20, 2005, 07:45 PM
Very well put. I agree.

Glad I wasn't too snippy for you! :p ;) :eek: :D

Chrispy
Jul 20, 2005, 07:51 PM
Re Dell and on-site service--I can see the need for that for businesses. My business is PowerBook-based, and I'm able to use my eMac instead if I need to ship the PB away, but that doesn't mean I want to!

But with Dell it's especially needed... they have a 1 in 5 failure rate with laptops :o

(Speaking of "best of a bad industry.")

The reason Dell has a high failure rate is becuase they make some cheap laptops. You know if you buy a $499 laptop computer that it probably is not going to be the most reliable piece of hardware you own. However, they also make very nice and very reliable latitude notebooks. Dell just coveres a larger market and for that reason they have more products that can be subject to failure due to low prices. All of our corporate machines are high end Dimension Desktops or Percision Workstations and our laptops are high end Inspirons or Latitudes.

I had 4 powerbooks that all developed a problem in under a month of ownership so, for me, Apple holds a very bad failure rate. It just depends on your luck, how much you spend, and how you treat your computers. I will, however, agree that typically when a PC laptop has a failure it is something serious and many times if a mac protable has a problem it is something that can be repaired. For this reason, Apple does have an advantage. Now if Apple could just do a faster turn around on repairs they would be the bomb :D Oh and by the way, I'm much more a fan of Apple's design, user interface and overall "coolness factor" than I am of Dell. I'm just making sure both sides of the argument are seen here.

mkrishnan
Jul 20, 2005, 08:07 PM
The reason Dell has a high failure rate is becuase they make some cheap laptops. You know if you buy a $499 laptop computer that it probably is not going to be the most reliable piece of hardware you own. However, they also make very nice and very reliable latitude notebooks. Dell just coveres a larger market and for that reason they have more products that can be subject to failure due to low prices. All of our corporate machines are high end Dimension Desktops or Percision Workstations and our laptops are high end Inspirons or Latitudes.

Chrispy, I'm really interested in this... I follow your line of reasoning completely, but is there any actual hard data (of a non-anecdotal variety) to back this up?

Just to share an opposite anecdote, I have sometimes seen what seemed to be more problems and failures with the highest end notebooks, because they use new hardware off of new manufacturing processes, whereas manufacturing-process-related failure modes have been stamped out of the older-school components in the lower-end hardware to a greater extent.

But to be honest, I don't know. I could see it going either way. Perhaps a sweet spot for the sort of low-end-professional hardware, that is in neither extreme? :o

Chrispy
Jul 20, 2005, 08:39 PM
Chrispy, I'm really interested in this... I follow your line of reasoning completely, but is there any actual hard data (of a non-anecdotal variety) to back this up?

Just to share an opposite anecdote, I have sometimes seen what seemed to be more problems and failures with the highest end notebooks, because they use new hardware off of new manufacturing processes, whereas manufacturing-process-related failure modes have been stamped out of the older-school components in the lower-end hardware to a greater extent.

But to be honest, I don't know. I could see it going either way. Perhaps a sweet spot for the sort of low-end-professional hardware, that is in neither extreme? :o

Excellent point about being in the middle ground probably being the best to ensure that hardware will be reliable. All the computer we order have been around for at least a few months so many times the bugs are worked out (for example the Dimension 9100 needed a firmware update for its Radeon x300 to work with DVI). The only data I really have to back myself is my 2 years of wroking at a service center for PCs of all varieties. Often times the ones we saw the most were the cheapo low end HPs and Compaqs that were "great buys" in the sales flyer a few weeks before. The higher end unit did show up from time to time as well but not nearly as much. Usually around the 2.5 to 3 year mark was when computers that were middle to high end in their day started to show up with issues. Most of the time it was the hard drive and we would just slap a new one in.

Your point does hold some very real truths in my situation as I have owned 3 ibooks in the past and all of them were great and problem free. The powerbooks were always the units to give me problems haha. Again, probably just coincidence but it does back your reasoning that high end can sometimes mean more trouble :cool:

nagromme
Jul 20, 2005, 10:57 PM
Low end = cheap parts = trouble isn't the only factor maybe, but it's certainly a factor.

My PC is an eMachines, so I have seen this first hand :o So many problems all through the 1 year warranty, and then parts kept on failing starting within a week after the warranty ended. Which left me out of luck, and not too happy. Luckily I can still use it, sort of. I just can't turn it off: the power supply spontaneously restarts itself if you try to turn it off. The only way to turn it off is to yank the power plug. The silver lining: I happened to have a spare power supply that they sent me in error to fix a modem failure! Don't be too happy, though... it's the spare that won't shut down! The original power supply failed too, completely dead.

I'm done now :)

Chrispy
Jul 20, 2005, 11:18 PM
Ouch.. nagromme I feel your pain. I went through this with a Packard Bell back in 1995. It was just one problem after another and this was back before I knew what I was doing with PCs so I could not fix it. I then shared the pain of others years later when I was a service technician for a few years and we saw the same computer over and over again. I wish you the best of luck in getting a working and reliable computer :cool:

nagromme
Jul 21, 2005, 11:40 AM
Happy ending - my eMachines PC now performs well at everything I asl of it: it keeps the door from blowing shut :)

It has been a long time now since my business has had any need for Windows. I keep my PC "just in case" I somehow need it, but I don't even use VPC much anymore.

Chrispy
Jul 21, 2005, 04:10 PM
I don't know if I just have a negative Apple product energy to me but I was floored again by the service I got from Dell today vs. what I got from Apple. I was having some issues getting Windows XP pro to install on the system when I first got it and it was due to bad media but I called Dell and they walked me through any prossible problems that could lead to that type of thing. The system checked out just fine and I moved on. Today, I received a call from Dell asking me how things were going and if I was still having any problems. They could not have been any more polite if they tried. Why oh why couldn't my Apple experiences been like this.... sigh...

macnulty
Jul 22, 2005, 11:16 PM
In manufacturing, cheap vs. high end is a function of acceptable failure of components supplied by third party vendors. It seems many posters are applying negative experiences to preconceived notions of what should have caused the failure. Every manufacturer decides the acceptable failure rate of a product, what that would cost to warranty it, and the volume of production needed to reach a cost point. Dell may find a higher failure acceptable for the anticipated volume of units sold, it's a numbers game. They can produce a bullet proof laptop but how many consumers buy it at the price needed to make a profit? Especially considering how fast computers are obsoleted, why would a manufacturer produce it or a consumer buy it?

nagromme
Jul 23, 2005, 12:38 AM
Today, I received a call from Dell asking me how things were going and if I was still having any problems. They could not have been any more polite if they tried.

For the record, I've always had courtesy from Apple (several times bending over backwards to do things they didn't have to) AND have had callbacks to check up afterwards.

Chrispy
Jul 24, 2005, 11:10 PM
For the record, I've always had courtesy from Apple (several times bending over backwards to do things they didn't have to) AND have had callbacks to check up afterwards.

Hey nagromme. Send some of that love from Apple my way haha. I could use it after the crap they have put me through time and time again lol. Sigh....Apple, what a love/hate relationship we have ;)