Windows Secrets Reviews RESCUECOM's 2017 Computer Reliability Report

Windows Secrets Reviews RESCUECOM's 2017 Computer Reliability Report

What's more reliable: A PC or Mac. And what kind of PC?

By on January 31, 2017

What’s more expensive: a Windows PC or a Mac? The answer seems obvious: When you compare price tags to power and features, PCs almost always win.

But when you consider costs of use as well as costs of purchase, Macs appear to be cheaper. At least that’s the conclusions found by both IBM and computer repair company RESCUECOM.

Using a computer costs money, especially in the workplace. Long learning curves cut productivity. When an employee must figure out why their computer isn’t behaving as it should, that employee is not being productive. If he or she is forced to call IT for advice or, worse, a visit, two people are taken away from their other chores. What’s more, if employees are frustrated by the tools given to them, morale drops.

According to IBM, Macs are easier to learn and cause fewer problems than Windows PCs. And according to RESCUECOM, they need fewer repairs. That’s less downtime, fewer helpdesk calls — and therefore smaller overhead.

IBM’s experience

Fletcher Previn, IBM’s VP of Workplace as a Service, spoke last October at the jamf Nation User Conference and said, “Every Mac we buy is in fact continuing to make and save IBM money.”

Since 2015, IBM – the company that launched the PC more than 35 years ago – started giving employees a choice of platforms. “The goal was to deliver a great employee choice program and strive to achieve the best Mac program,” says Previn. By the time of Previn’s speech, IBM had 90,000 Macs.

According to his talk, a Mac costs a third as much to manage than a PC, and they drive only half as many support calls. And when Mac users do call, their problems appear to be simpler to solve. Twenty-seven percent of PC support calls result in a deskside visit; only five percent of Mac calls required the same.

The ease of setting up a new computer is an important part of the equation. When an employee gets a new Apple computer, they “just get a shrink-wrapped Mac at [their] desk with a post-it note on it with a URL to our Internet, and that was the sum total of instructions you needed to get that machine up and running…That would be very different than what we had in the Windows PC space up.”

Previn knew he sounded like an Apple evangelist, and he felt it necessary to point out that “I’m not the Mac guy at IBM. I’m responsible for all platforms.” But he knew that jamf is a Mac-oriented software company, and that his audience would likely be true believers.

Nevertheless, his argument was compelling.

The support calls that do or do not come in

You don’t have to be a corporate giant to get an overview of computer problems. A tech support company gets a pretty good idea of who’s having what type of problems with any particular brand of computer.

RESCUECOM is such a company, and they found compelling pro-Mac numbers in their recent Annual 2017 Computer Reliability Repor. RESCUECOM employs more than 5,500 technicians in the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They charge $30 a month for a home subscription and $50 for businesses.

Just to make things clear, I have no business ties to RESCUECOM, and I have no opinions on the quality of their work.

Released in late January, the report shows that Apple products received fewer service calls per units sold, with a reliability score of 669, more than twice as high as the second best, Samsung (326). The worst? Toshiba, with 4.

To calculate a brand’s reliability score, RESCUECOM compares a brand’s market share with the percentage of repair calls it receives for those products. A higher number means fewer calls compared to sales figures. Note that these are repair calls; how-to questions don’t apply.

RESCUECOM can only guess as to why Apple does so well. “Apple’s high reliability may be due to the durability of its components, providing a lower computer repair rate, and the complimentary tech support that comes with most products.”

Samsung’s relatively high score seems a bit surprising considering their recent reputation for exploding smartphones. But I assume that when a Note 7 bursts into flames, the owner is more likely to call Samsung, or their provider, than a third-party company such as RESCUECOM.

Having bought a Lenovo Yoga 900 last year, I’m relieved but not ecstatic to discover that my brand of choice (this is my third Lenovo) came in fourth out of ten with a score of 139. According to RESCUECOM’s CEO, David Milman, “Lenovo is consistently a top performer on RESCUECOM’s Computer Reliability Report.”

I almost bought a Surface, but the report made me glad I didn’t. Microsoft came in next to last, with a reliability score of 45. “Historically, fixing the Surface tablets has been a nightmare for customers,” warns Milman.

Should we all give up on Microsoft?

I’ve been using DOS and Windows PCs since I packed away my old, CP/M-driven Osborne I more than 30 years ago. Despite their problems, I’ve always preferred the PC platform.

Maybe it’s just stubbornness, or perhaps a dislike about the Cult of Mac. I don’t have plans to change.

But this is serious food for thought.

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