Study: Windows 7 leading to higher customer PC satisfaction

Consumers are responding positively to Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, and thus their satisfaction of their PCs has also increased, the most recent edition of the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The effect is being compared to the "halo effect" of Apple's iPod music player, which was thought to have engendered positive feelings about the Mac computer.

Dell's satisfaction score was up three points over last year to a 77, while HP, Acer, and a general "all others" category was up four points also to a 77. The only manufacturer not to see gains was Compaq, which remained at a 74 out of a possible 100. Apple remained on top with a score of 86, which was two points higher than last year. The Cupertino company has led the survey every year since 2004.

Regardless of Apple's good performance, the focus was on the PC segment, whose near-universal gains indicated that Windows 7 is definitely being well received by the general computing public.

"Windows-based manufacturers made large gains in the second year of Microsoft's release of Windows 7, marking a recovery from the problems associated with the Windows Vista software," ACSI director Claes Fornell said.

ACSI had watched satisfaction scores drop during Vista's tenure as Microsoft's flagship operating system. Following Vista's release in 2007, scores plummeted as consumers ran into the many annoying quirks and bugs that marred the operating system's experience.

Nothing could have been made more evident of this issue than last year, when netbooks -- which manufacturers pre-installed Windows XP on -- helped the "all others" category to gain. ACSI at the time said brisk sales of the devices had much to do with that jump.

It may not all be Windows 7, though. PC prices are again on their way down, and obviously consumers are happier when they can spend less money. The economy has forced many manufacturers to reevaluate their pricing strategies and even lower prices to stay competitive.

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