IDG’S PC World Rates Dell Home PCs “Outstanding” In Latest Reliability & Service Reader Survey

San Francisco, CA; April 1, 1999 – Good news for computer buyers: in its latest reader survey, PC World reports encouraging trends in PC reliability and service. In the May issue of PC World, "PC Reliability & Service: The Best Are Just a Phone Call Away," (online now at www.pcworld.com/may99/reliability and on newsstands April 13) nearly 10,000 survey respondents reported fewer problems on arrival and improvements in problem resolution. Even so, of the 15 companies PC World evaluated, only one PC maker earned a five-star "Outstanding" rating for overall reliability and service: Dell, for its home PCs. As a whole, direct vendors held an unmistakable edge over other PC manufacturers for customer satisfaction. Here's a look at the survey highlights:

* Dell, Gateway, and IBM each scored "Good" or better in all three categories.

* Compared to PC World's November 1998 survey, Micron's work PCs slipped from "Good" to "Fair," while Toshiba dropped from "Good" to "Fair" in its laptop line.

* An average of 7.6 percent of participants in the current survey reported a problem on arrival, versus about 10 percent in the November survey.

* Acer's home PCs climbed a notch from "Unacceptable" to "Poor"-a step up, but still a lot of room for improvement.

* 75 percent of customers who bought direct were "very satisfied" overall with their PC, compared to 53 and 51 percent, respectively, for reseller and retail customers.

* Generally, even if buyers go with a notebook from one of the highest-rated direct-mail vendors in the survey, they still stand a fifty-fifty chance of encountering a problem.

* Dell lays claim to the highest percentage of customers who say they'd buy another machine of the same brand-88 percent for both work and home desktops, and 90 percent for notebooks.

PC World's Reliability and Service Survey was conducted in conjunction with World Research of San Jose, CA, and IDC Consulting, Mountain View, CA. Over the past 12 months, PC World developed a panel of verified PC World subscribers-totaling 48,218 as of December 1998-who reported on the 87,264 PCs (three-years-old or younger) that they use at work, at home, and on the road. After quota sampling for each manufacturer, a total of 9,990 respondents participated in the final survey. The information they provided about their PC's reliability and about their experience, if any, in getting service from the system manufacturer, or its authorized representative, forms the basis for the vendor rankings. Using this data, a team of PC World editors and research experts analyzed the overall reliability and service performance of each manufacturer's home, work, and notebook PCs based on 12 measures. For each company, PC World required a minimum of 57 responses on the systems' reliability and 44 responses on readers' service experiences. In each of six reliability and six service categories, PC World ranked every company from best to worst.

PC WORLD MAY 1999 RELIABILITY & SERVICE RATINGS

-WORK PCs-

-HOME PCs-

-NOTEBOOKS-

OUTSTANDING

OUTSTANDING

OUTSTANDING

None

Dell

None

GOOD

GOOD

GOOD

Dell

CyberMax

Dell

Gateway

Gateway

Gateway

IBM

IBM

IBM

Micron

Micron

Quantex

Sony

FAIR

FAIR

FAIR

Compaq

AST

Compaq

Hewlett-Packard

Compaq

Fujistu

Micron