by Anton Shilov
08/18/2009 | 07:23 PM
Asustek Computer again managed to become the maker of most reliable personal computers in the U.S., according to Rescuecom’s quarterly computer reliability report. Apart from Asus, Apple and Lenovo Group are in the top three makers of most reliable PCs. Even though the scores provided by Rescuecom are rather questionable, they outline a rather alarming trend: the amount of calls requesting support for Asus PCs is increasing quicker than the market share of the firm.
“Because Asus just introduced the newest version of the Eee PC laptop last fall, the original predicted computer reliability of this laptop has been somewhat up in the air. However, a good eight months later, we are still receiving the fewest calls for computer repair and support with Asus, while their market share is increasing, adding the Eee desktop to their line as well, indicating that this PC is continuing to prove itself in terms of computer reliability,” said David A. Milman, the founder and chief executive officer of Rescuecom.
But while Mr. Milman praises reliability of Asustek’s system, there are two points that need to be noted: firstly, reliability score of Asus systems in Q2 2009 dropped dramatically to 416 from 972 in the first quarter; secondly, while the U.S. market share of Asus increased to 2.5% from 1.6% in Q4 2008 (an increase of 56%), the share of calls requesting tech support to Rescuecom raised to 0.6% from 0.2% a quarter ago (an increase of 200%). Reliability scores of Apple and Lenovo remained on approximately the same levels.
For the second quarter of 2009, IDC reported a total of over 16 million shipped PCs among eight major brands. Over this same time period, Rescuecom received 11 560 calls for computer repair and support related to these brands. "Computer reliability" is based on two key measures, including the quality of the components and software that's used in manufacturing the computer, and the post-sale support that's provided by the manufacturer to its customers. The higher the score, the greater the reliability of the brand. The top five contenders and their computer reliability scores are as follows:
Personal Computers' Reliability Comparison
Computer Reliability Report Q2 2009 by Rescuecom
U.S. PC Market Share
Rescuecom Repair Share
Percentage of calls to a special line
"When it comes to buying a computer, quality of components and service by the manufacturer after the purchase play a big role in consumers' purchasing decisions. Our reports deliver the most up-to-date information, based on our ability to define and predict the anticipated reliability of today's most popular PCs, minimizing the need for computer repair during the time you own it,” added Mr. Millman.
But not everything is that simple. What should be noted about the Q1 and Q2 2009 reports by Rescuecom is that in previous years the reports calculated the “reliability score” for each PC vendor based on the calculated difference between overall U.S. market share, over a three-year period, and the percentage of calls requesting service received by Rescuecom call center over one specified quarter or one year. However, starting from 2008 the service company started to compare the amount of calls over a specified period with the approximate market share in that period (or take market shares from a couple of previous quarters).
This new methodolody substantially alters the outcome as complaints regarding older systems are compared to current market shares. As a result, if a company owned 10% market share three years ago and now has 5% of the market, it will get lower reliability score since it is natural that older systems need more attention from tech personnel. The same is effective in other direction: a company with 10% market share now that used to command 5% of the shipments will get higher score since proportionally to current shipments the amount of complaints will be low.