For the seventh consecutive year, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) remained the American consumer's favorite PC manufacturer according to a report from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

The ACSI, which is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of product and service quality, ranked the top PC manufacturers in terms of customer satisfaction on a 0 to 100 point scale. The survey was done in regards to customer service, pricing and machine reliability. Apple took home the crown with a rating of 86 percent, its highest ever and more than nine percentage points higher than the next competitor. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has topped ACSI's PC rankings since 2003.

"Customer service has been a hallmark for them," David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI, said. "In terms of tech support, that has also been a strong point for Apple. The other strength is in terms of product innovation, especially in the last five to six years."http:/

VanAmburg says Apple's willingness to come up with new products, such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod, has kept its fan base interested in the company. He said they are attracted to a range of products that can be integrated together. Even though its PC market share is behind Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Acer according to research firm IDC, its fan base is extremely loyal. This is another reason it continually ranks high on ACSI's list.

"Whether it's Dell, Acer or HP, they are all Windows based. Moving from one of those computers to another, for many people, is not that big of a change. So if they are mad at one or just see a better price, they'll move. However, Apple customers are more likely to stick with Apple. The change from Apple to Windows is a big change, in terms of usability and loyalty," VanAmburg said.

Despite ranking below Apple, other PC manufacturers saw positive signs with each rising in customer satisfaction. Dell, Acer and HP were all tied at 77 percent satisfaction, all of which jumped up from 74 percent a year prior, except Dell, which was at 75 percent. The upward mobility in the industry has happened over the past ten years, mainly because manufacturers have found a way to make PCs cheaper and better performing.

"In the beginning of the decade, computers were high priced and not very efficient. Now they are more affordable, I think everyone has a discount brand, whether its Compaq or HP or some lower-end Dells and Acers. The affordability and improvements of the machines have helped increase customer satisfaction. Computers have gotten faster, stronger, have fewer bells and whistles that hike up the cost and yet are better performing machines than their predecessors," VanAmburg said.

This evolution is commonplace with all forms of technology. The calculator VanAmburg said cost 75 dollars when it came out and could only add, subtract and do basic equations. Eventually, it evolved, just as the PC did.

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