The in-store ratings were obtained from approximately 3,500 U.S. computer owners who had taken their machines, or at least their questions, to a retail store.
Consumer Reports took the bulk of PC industry -- the OEMs that focus on selling Windows-based machines -- to task. "Clearly, there's room for improvement in tech support: 24% to 40% of respondents who sought phone or online help from makers of Windows-based computers said the staff's patience, knowledge, or clarity was fair at best," the magazine said on its website.
That's not good news for companies struggling under a landslide of negative indicators and bad news, ranging from decreasing profit margins and lack of interest in Microsoft's newest, Windows 8, to slumping sales, which in the first three months of 2013, were down between 11% and 14% by estimates of analysts at Gartner and IDC.
Apple has not been immune to many of the same problems. Last week it reported Mac sales were down 2% in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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