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Microsoft On the Rise in Consumer Satisfaction Study, AT&T Drops

According to an American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released today, customer satisfactionfor Microsoft software has reached an all-time high of 78 on the 100-point scale. This marks a 3-point improvement over last year's numbers and a huge jump of 2008's low point of 69.

The ASCI organization, part of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, produces customer indexes for 10 economic sectors, which takes data  from 225 companies and 200 government services to compile company and customer satisfaction ratings. Today's results focus primarily on the information sector.

It's easy to speculate on the jump in satisfaction Microsoft has received in the last three years; The company's rating took a dip on the release of Windows Vista and began to rebound after the news of Windows 7's release.

As a whole, the software sector, in which Microsoft is counted in, rose 2.6 percent this year to 78, which places Redmond at the overall average for the entire industry. However, while customer satisfaction has risen for the company, that does not translate into higher sales.

"This year marks a third straight year of ACSI gains for Microsoft," said ACSI researchers in a press release discussing the recent study. "Nevertheless, recent sales of Windows software have declined as a result of a similar drop-off in PC shipments. Customers are more satisfied with Microsoft software, but, for now, the company is selling less of it."

The other noteworthy finding in the recent study shows that Verizon and Sprint are the two top-rated wireless telephone service companies at 72 percent positive -- with a decrease of 1.4 points for Verizon and an increase of 2.9 for Sprint. AT&T was the biggest to suffer in this category in the past year, dropping by 4.3 points from 2010 to settle at 66 percent. T-Mobile, which is still in negotiations to merge with AT&T, also had a drop, decreasing its index value by 4.1 points to 70 percent.

"It is common to find a reduction in customer satisfaction after mergers, but it is rare for customer satisfaction to drop ahead of a merger," said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI. "Assuming the deal is approved, it remains to be seen if a much larger AT&T can regain the strength of its customer relationships."

The report's findings can be found here.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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