IDG’S PC World Releases Results of Annual Reliability and Service Survey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – NOVEMBER 6, 2003 – For the tenth straight year, PC World surveyed subscribers to gauge the overall reliability and service of PC vendors. This year’s study, featured in the December 2003 issue, marked the debut of peripherals coverage: printers, digital cameras, wireless gateways, and PDAs. The article is available online now at http://find.pcworld.com/39035 and the issue will be available on newsstands on November 18th.

Over the past 12 months, desktop and notebook manufacturers have improved in ratings. As with the 2002 survey, none of the companies were rated as “Outstanding,” but unlike last year, none of the companies scored in the “Poor” range. This uptick reverses a trend seen recently, showing that some manufacturers have made strides in customer satisfaction.

RELIABILITY AND SERVICE SCORES OVERALL: PCs

OUTSTANDING GOOD FAIR POOR

DESKTOPS None Dell, EMachines, Gateway, IBM, independent shops, Sony Compaq, HP None

NOTEBOOKS None Dell, Gateway, IBM, Toshiba Compaq, HP, Sony None

Overall, peripherals received higher reliability marks than PCs: only 15% of digital camera owners, 27% of printer owners, 28% of PDA owners, and 36% of wireless gateway owners experienced a significant malfunction. In contrast, 46% of desktop users reported at least one significant problem over the past three years and notebook users followed closely at 41%.

RELIABILITY RATINGS1: PERIPHERALS

OUTSTANDING GOOD FAIR POOR

PRINTERS Samsung Brother, Canon, Epson, HP Dell, Lexmark, Minolta Xerox/Tektronix

DIGITAL CAMERAS Sony Canon, Fujifilm, HP, Kodak, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus Casio, Panasonic, Toshiba Logitech, Polaroid

WIRELESS GATEWAYS None Netgear D-Link, Linksys, Microsoft, SMC Belkin

PDAs None Handspring, Palm, Sony Casio, Compaq, Dell, HP, Toshiba None

1 Too few reports about users’ service experiences were received to tabulate a combined Reliability and Service rating for many peripherals makers.

Though service ratings have increased, there is still room for improvement. Customers complained of long hold times and some still experience long delays in repair. However, certain woes are indicative of general trends: widespread viruses bring a deluge of calls and users tend to use older PCs with newer peripherals, prompting a need for support. Some companies have responded to customer needs with streamlined call centers and enhanced Web support.

This Web-based survey was conducted with Research Results and fielded from April 1 through June 30, 2003. PC World editors and research experts analyzed the reliability of PCs using 12 weighted measures and peripherals using eight weighted measures. Over 32,000 subscribers were polled about the computers and peripherals they use at work and at home.

PC World Communications, Inc. is the publisher of PC World and PCWorld.com (www.pcworld.com) and is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research and event company. The winner of the 2003 Eddie Award for Editorial Excellence, PC World is the most widely-read technology or business publication with a readership of 7.1 million (IntelliQuest CIMS v10.0: unduplicated, combined Business & Home Average Issue Audience). With 4.3 million unique visitors per month (HitBox, October 2003), PCWorld.com, winner of the 2003 Maggie Award for Best Online Publication, is a leading online resource for PC-product buyers and users. IDG publishes more than 300 magazines and newspapers and offers online users the largest network of technology-specific sites around the world through IDG.net (www.idg.net), which comprises more than 330 targeted Web sites in 80 countries. IDG is also a leading producer of 168 computer-related events worldwide, and IDG's research company, IDC, provides global market intelligence and advice through 51 offices in 43 countries worldwide. Company information is available at www.idg.com.

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