Macs plummet in Rescuecom reliability ranking

Loses more than 50% of its '08 score, now trails Asus and Lenovo

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"They distributed a large chunk of machines in a short amount of time, but I wouldn't pin everything on its ranking going forward," Kaplan added, noting that the sudden surge in netbook sales means that there's a large number of just-acquired systems in users' hands, which in turn can translate into fewer support calls.

"It will be interesting to see in the coming quarters if Asus will start coming down to the level of the other vendors, or can sustain it," Kaplan said.

Dell Inc. placed seventh in Rescuecom's rankings, said Kaplan, down a spot from 2008, while Sony Corp. took the No. 8 position, up a spot from last year. Rescuecom's reliability scores for both companies' computers, however, were down for the first quarter of 2009 compared with last year.

Panasonic, which held the No. 2 spot in Rescuecom's last ranking, fell off the most recent chart completely.

As Rescuecom noted in December 2008, the volume of support calls related to Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista continues to fall. Kaplan credited Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), which Microsoft released a year ago, for the improvement. "SP1 made Vista much more reliable, and there's also more software available for Vista that doesn't require patches [to run properly]," said Kaplan. "People are having fewer problems because they're not trying to adapt older software to the operating system."

Microsoft is on the final lap for SP2, Vista's next major update, which recently reached release candidate status and is reportedly on track for a mid-May ship date.

Kaplan also addressed the rapid fall in PC prices, arguing that although cheaper machines may make them disposable rather than worthy of repair to some, that's not the case for everyone.

"Whether it's a $300 Asus or a $2,000 Sony, the value of the computer for most people is in the data on the computer," he said. "Whether you buy a subnotebook or the more expensive computer, the value is in the software and the data on it, so quite a few of the calls we get are for data recovery or to transfer data from an older computer to a newer one."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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