IDG’s PC World Announces Results for Reliability & Service Survey Over 42,000 Subscribers Rate Desktops, Notebooks, Printers, Digital Cameras, Wireless Gateways, and Audio Players

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – DECEMBER 14, 2004 – For the eleventh year, PC World, the most widely-read computer or business magazine, surveyed its subscribers to gauge the overall reliability and service of PC vendors. For the second year, the study also rated peripherals: printers, digital cameras, wireless gateways, and audio players. The article is featured in the January 2005 issue and is available on newsstands now.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20041214/SFTU099LOGO )

Since the last survey, published in PC World's December 2003 issue ( http://find.pcworld.com/39035 ), responses show that as the PC industry matures and products become more reliable, phone service generally continues to frustrate users. As in years past, a common complaint was a difficulty in understanding the service representatives, many of whom are located in foreign countries. However, IBM's notebook PC group received high marks for support from satisfied owners, as do independent, locally owned mom-and-pop stores.

SATISFACTION WITH RELIABILITY(1): PCs

BETTER THAN AVERAGE AVERAGE BELOW AVERAGE

DESKTOPS: ABS, Alienware, Apple, eMachines, Medion Acer, Dell, Gateway, IBM, Independent Sellers, MPC PowerSpec, Shuttle PC, Sony, Systemax, VPR Matrix Compaq, CyberPower, HP

NOTEBOOKS: Apple, eMachines Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, IBM, Independent Sellers, Sony, Toshiba

Compaq, HP

(1) "Satisfaction with Reliability" is one of five Reliability measures in

the survey.

For all devices, reliability ratings included problems on arrival, any hardware or software problem, and satisfaction with reliability. Desktop and notebook users also reported the number of failed components (one or more original parts) and failed core components (CPU, graphics card, hard drive, motherboard, power supply or RAM). Peripheral users took into account problems severe enough to contact tech support and a product's ease of use.

Among peripherals, digital camera users reported low problem rates compared with other product categories. And though wireless gateways have a reputation as troublesome technology, responses were encouraging with few serious problems reported. Overall, fewer people had to contact tech support for help with peripherals than they did for help with PCs.

SATISFACTION WITH RELIABILITY(1): PERIPHERALS

BETTER THAN AVERAGE AVERAGE BELOW AVERAGE

PRINTERS Canon, HP, Samsung Brother, Dell, Epson, Konica Minolta, Okidata Lexmark, Xerox

DIGITAL CAMERAS Canon, Panasonic, Pentax Casio, Konica Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Toshiba

Fujifilm, HP,

Kodak, Vivitar

WIRELESS GATEWAYS Linksys, Netgear 2 Wire, Belkin, D-Link, Dell, SMC —

AUDIO PLAYERS Apple Creative, Dell, iRiver, Samsung, Sony Archos, Panasonic,

RCA, Rio

(1) "Satisfaction with Reliability" is one of five Reliability measures in

the survey.

Though PC reliability seems to have stabilized and peripheral reliability is strong, service is still lacking across the board. Not only do users find support reps difficult to understand, survey respondents reported that many reps rigidly use a diagnostic script to assess problems rather than listening to the customer.

Other highlights from this year's survey are eMachine's continuing strength in both Desktops and Notebooks, and Canon's excellent reliability scores in both Printers and Digital Cameras.

Conducted in conjunction with Lynd Bacon & Associates, the web-based survey was fielded from April 1 through August 31, 2004. The data was analyzed using state-of-the-art multivariate statistics and advanced psychometrics. Over 42,000 PC World subscribers were polled about the computers and peripherals they use at work and at home, and responses were limited to devices that were three years old or younger. Companies in the charts above are listed alphabetically.

About PC World:

PC World Communications, Inc., a subsidiary of IDG, is the publisher of PC World, Digital World, PCWorld.com ( http://www.pcworld.com/ ), and home of the PC World Test Center. The winner of the 2004 Eddie Award for Editorial Excellence, PC World is the most widely-read computer or business publication with a readership of over 4.9 million (IntelliQuest CIMS 2004: total unduplicated, combined Business, Home, and Dual Studies). With over 5.4 million unique visitors (HitBox, November 2004), PCWorld.com, winner of the 2004 Neal Award for Best Web Site, is a leading online resource for technology product buyers and users.

About IDG:

International Data Group (IDG) is the world's leading technology media, research, and event company. A privately-held company, IDG publishes more than 300 magazines and newspapers including Bio-IT World, CIO, CSO, Computerworld, GamePro, InfoWorld, Network World, and PC World. The company features the largest network of technology-specific Web sites with more than 400 around the world. IDG is also a leading producer of more than 170 computer-related events worldwide including LinuxWorld Conference & Expo(R), Macworld Conference & Expo(R), DEMO(R), and IDC Directions. IDC provides global market research and advice through offices in 50 countries. Company information is available at http://www.idg.com/ .

###