It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

Summary: Microsoft has won back the customers it lost during the three years when it was best known for the unloved and much-mocked Windows Vista. In fact, new customer-satisfaction scores show Microsoft's approval ratings at an all-time high.

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Microsoft has won back the customers it lost during the three years when it was best known for the unloved and much-mocked Windows Vista. In fact, a new survey from an independent group finds that Microsoft's customer satisfaction levels in the wake of the successful launch of Windows 7 are at an all-time high. The report also includes some bad news for AT&T Mobility and for the cable and satellite TV industries.

You can see the results for yourself in this year's comprehensive American Customer Satisfaction Index report, released today by the University of Michigan. The annual survey covers 10 economic sectors, 44 industries, and more than 200 companies or Federal and local government agencies. Each entity is scored on a scale of 0-100, with higher numbers representing greater satisfaction.

Back in 2006, before Vista was released, Microsoft's ACSI score was a respectable 73. (To put that number in perspective, the highest satisfaction score for 2010 is an 83 for Sempra Energy.) In 2007, the year of Vista's launch, Microsoft's ACSI score dropped significantly, to 70, and it dropped another point in 2008, to 69, inching up to 70 again in 2009. Those numbers are remarkably consistent and significantly lower than the pre-Vista ratings.

Last fall, Microsoft introduced Windows 7. Today, roughly six months later, the company's ACSI score has spiked impressively, to an all-time high of 76.

ACSI didn't publish customer satisfaction scores for any other hardware or software companies in this release, so direct comparisons with Apple and other rivals aren't possible in this quarter. Apple's numbers in the Personal Computer catgegory for previous years are available, however. Its 2009 rating of 84 (down from 85 in 2008) is impressive and significantly higher than the second-ranked company in that category, Dell, which earned a 75.

I found one set of peripherally related numbers interesting. AT&T Mobility, the sole U.S. provider of services for Apple's iPhone, earned a dismal 2010 ACSI score of 69, below all other rivals; Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are ranked at 73. AT&T's score is an improvement over last year's 67, but it still has a long way to go.

One final data point: The American people don't like their cable and satellite TV companies much. Overall rankings for the industry are a a dismal 66, with the two bright spots also being the most technically advanced. Verizon Communications' FIOS service earns a 73 score, while AT&T U-verse trails slightly at 72.. Time-Warner Cable and Comcast are tied at 61, and Charter Communications brings up the rear at 60.

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, AT&T, Windows

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166 comments
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  • How would you rank your satisfaction with Microsoft?

    Windows users only: If you were to rank your satisfaction with Microsoft right now on a scale of 0-100, what would your number be, and why?
    Ed Bott
    • Windows user but not by choice

      @Ed Bott or rather by choice of the IT department at work. I was a huge Microsoft and Windows fan in the mid 90's. Today it's here, and there's nothing I can do about it. Score: 30
      HollywoodDog
      • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

        @HollywoodDog, I wouldn't work for an employer who forced me to use Windows. Fortunately, I've never had to. :-)
        Laraine Anne Barker
      • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

        @HollywoodDog

        I can take some pride as my employer is rolling out Linux to our workforce. We have made the decision to cut the shackles that have had us chained to the deck of the M$ Titanic.
        fatman65535
      • Huge Microsoft and Windows fan in the 90s?

        @HollywoodDog Why? Were you a masochist? I think I get it. The better the current release of Windows, the lower you rate Windows.
        Lester Young
    • MS is not quite out of my doghouse!

      @Ed Bott I use windows at work (.NET developer) Mac at home and mobile. I have used EVERY version of windows and I think MS is starting to begin, to head in the direction of eventually get it right! The OS still "Thunks" (if you don't know - don't ask!), application installation/removal is still a huge hassel, and worst of all is the constant vulnerability to viruses! I make my living coding MS technologies but I have to give MS a score of 40!
      tonyhunterajh
      • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

        @tonyhunterajh you're right, however, I do think that Microsoft need to standardise on MSI and make the 'Windows 7 compatible' sticker conditional on meeting a set of requirements, including using the built in MSI format rather than a customised installer. Until Microsoft has a set of rigid requirements for the 'Windows 7' compatibility logo, the logo itself will hold no weight in the marketplace as so far as compatibility and reliability.
        Macintoshtoffy
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @Ed Bott <br>I would give them 90<br>Over the last two years they have really improved the performance of their products and response to the needs of their users. I use many of their products together several products of their competitors (including open-source software).
      s_ktt
    • Well as long as I can use negative numbers....

      @Ed Bott
      -90, They lost me @ DOS 5, when they promised a multitasking DOS and then pulled it and the last minute.

      DRDOS/OS 2/Linux/OS X/BSD
      mrlinux
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @Ed Bott I rate it at 20
      fidinc@...
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @Ed Bott I would give them an 80. They have been doing very well at the enterprise level lately as well.
      ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @Ed Bott

      I believe that they get an 80. Windows 7 is a notable improvement from both Vista AND XP. They have done well in improving their programming environments, too.
      slaskoske
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @Ed Bott As an average consumer I think 75 is a fair score. Microsoft has done a lot to make the product more accessible and easier to navigate. As has been pointed out, IT people are less impressed. You won't get a good score out of the tech savvy customer until MS releases a Singularity-based operating system. The day that happens, it'll make even the best XNU/UNIX/LINUX build look like a Model-T.
      ianarmstrong
    • My rank

      @Ed Bott
      If you asking me about the WHOLE M$ft products, I'd say: 30
      If you ask me about all the (customer) Windows versions (I'm using windows since 3.1) : 50
      And this is a detailed rank:
      Win7: 90
      Vista: 00
      XP: 75
      Me: 10
      98: 60 (It was really good at your age)
      95: 50
      3.11 / 3.1: Not applying
      BTW: I still love DOS and everything that looks like a terminal :)
      Don't get mad, I know sounds contradictorious: "I love shell and don't use linux"... well, I'm getting friendly with it.

      Glad to express myself.

      Cheers,
      Pampa
      nanomartin
      • Vista = 0....really? 0? I know it took awhile for the hardware industry..

        to catch up, but they did and when they did everyone saw Vista is a very solid OS. Much better than XP, well at least in the opinion of those I know who use it regularly. I did use it before win7 and I only upgraded because I'm a fan of the latest technology, but for that 2 year period I had no gripes. I had the Vista Ultimate x64 version and it ran very well on my laptop with 4GB RAM and of course, 64 bit processor. Never a problem. But then I didn't have any hardware or apps that were pre XPSP2, or the ones I did ran fine.
        All XPSP2 apps and drivers run on Vista just fine...if they were written to spec for XPSP2 that is.
        ABMers bashed it and failed to note that sometimes compatibility mode was required to load older drivers and programs. I have a circa 2003 Sony handicam and the driver loaded in xpsp2 compatibility mode w/o a hitch.
        That is the part that is left out by the MS hating Linux and Apple zealots who treat the subject like their religion and they have no tolerence for any but their own.
        But it's done well for itself and has a very significant marketshare.
        xuniL_z
      • A fair and balanced assessment

        @nanomartin
        more so than mine I guess. I'm amazed, however, that the more negative comments to this post have been *flagged*!???
        Papa_Bill
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @Ed Bott You are right they bounced back from WinVista. I'm a super happy customer with Win7, I will grade my satisfaction today on a top 95!
      DaNoch-PTY
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @Ed Bott -> I'd say my satisfaction level is somewhere between 65 and 70 percent.

      They do a lot of good things, but there are some things they absolutely can do better.

      BTW, the same holds true with other operating systems: There are some things they do great, and there other things where they could do better.
      PollyProteus
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @NatanElias Why? Deleted
      at1
    • RE: It's official: Microsoft is out of the Vista doghouse

      @Ed Bott
      XP - 60
      Vista - 15
      Win 7 - 85

      I am sure there is much room for improvement, but for the time being I am very satisfied with Windows 7. Vista was way too much of a resource hog and 7 seems significantly better in this regard. 7 feels more responsive, vista felt laggy and slow. Recently I upgraded 2 PCs at home from XP to 7.
      markheyes