While Microsoft pushes a series of ads that prompt customers to focus on the in-store price (remember, the price is not the cost), Apple customers are expressing satisfaction with the ownership experience. Research firm Forrester conducted a survey of 4,600 people about their experiences with several brands, including Apple, HP, Dell and Gateway.
Apple received a "Good" rating, meaning 80% of respondents rated their experience with the company's products highly (the actual measurement system isn't in the article's description). Gateway was next with an "Okay" rating (66% satisfaction), followed by HP at 63% (Lauren's choice!) and Dell bringing up the caboose at 58%.
This illustrates the tough spot Microsoft is in. They don't manufacture the hardware that their product, the OS, requires. Yet, people use "PC" -- which actually stands for "Personal Computer" -- synonymously with "Windows." It's unclear the article's summary where those customers' dissatisfaction comes from, the hardware or the software. While it's easy to say that Microsoft should switch focus from price to quality, it would be very difficult for them to implement, as they only control half of the equation.