Apple Beats Windows, Part Two

When I published my recent post about customer experience in the PC industry, it seemed to have touched a nerve. A bunch of journalists and bloggers have picked up on the results. Since I’ve provided my thoughts in comments and in other news outlets that people may not have read, I’m using this post to share what I was thinking. Here goes:

  • The OS matters. While our research did not isolate what caused the consumer ratings, it would be hard (nearly impossible) to believe that the operating system didn’t play a role in how consumers rated their experiences. So Microsoft/Windows is definitely a part of the reason why the PC makers did so poorly.
  • Don’t blame the OS. I know this seems to totally contradict my last point, but it doesn’t. What I mean is that the PC makers can and should do better — even if consumers seem to like the Mac OS better than Windows. It wasn’t too long ago that Dell was the darling of the computer industry. And, if I remember, they were selling Windows-based PCs.
  • Microsoft gets short-changed.  While the Windows ecosystem needs to dramatically improve its customer experience, I don’t think that Microsoft deserves it’s overly negative feedback. The amount of things that people do every day on Windows platforms and with Office applications is truly amazing. This blog, as it turns out, is written on a Windows laptop.
  • Apple creates zealots. The comments in my blog have been overwhelmingly pro-Apple and anti-Microsoft/Windows. There appears to be a large cult-like group of Mac lovers looking for outlets to voice their devotion to Apple. Microsoft, on the other hand, has converted few disciples.
  • Microsoft wants to improve. Microsoft hired a former Walmart executive to open a chain of retail stores and unveiled its huge Retail Experience Center in Redmond which I actually visited last year; it’s quite impressive. The software giant also has appointed Julie Larson-Green to overhaul the Windows experience

The bottom line: Hopefully Microsoft stays focused on customer experience.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

3 thoughts on “Apple Beats Windows, Part Two”

  1. Very well balanced post. I agree with you that point like ease to use will be based more on usability of software/OS than hardware.

    But then winner is a winner 🙂 I am Apple fan

  2. Much better post than the first one with some better insight into what is behind the survey. I too found the comments kind of offputting in their zeal.
    I personally see a report like this more as a commentary on the importance of brand than one of customer experience. Apple is perhaps the leading brand of the decade and that buys them a lot of goodwill. No question that brand is built on customer experience and innovation but that has huge impact on results in surveys like this one. A Mac is unique and a PC is a commodity and perception is reality.
    My Apple customer experience with their contact centre for a problematic Ipod still remains one of the worst customer experiences in my memory. That doesn’t discount the ease of use but it sure impacts the score I’d give them on any customer experience survey.
    Your final insight still stands – Microsoft needs to improve its focus on experience. That being said even if they do all things right I wouldn’t expect a change in a survey like this for a long time.

  3. Adesh and Avi: Thanks for your feedback. I try to be both opinionated and balanced. Happy you noticed!

    As for Avi’s discussion about branding, I couldn’t agree more — brand is critical. But I don’t think you can separate brand from customer experience; they’re inextricably linked. That’s why I defined the second principle of Experience-Based Differentiation as: Reinforce the brand with every interaction, not just communications.

    It’s clear that Apple has a strong, crisp brand positioning in the minds of its customers and prospects. Do you think that the PC makers even have a clear understanding of their brands, internally?

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