Google and Apple climb the customer-satisfaction polls

Google and Apple are at the top of their game and rising even higher, according to a survey of American attitudes toward brands.

The University of Michigan posted its 2008 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) this morning. Among the six manufacturing and e-business industries, Google and Apple hovered above the competition.

In the search-engine category, Google scored an 87 out of 100 – eight points higher than last year and 9 points higher than No. 2 Yahoo. These ranks come as Yahoo continues to push away from the failed takeover attempt by Microsoft and investor fallout that’s still making headlines. By comparison, Yahoo was one percentage point ahead of Google in last year's ACSI. There’s still concern that the Microsoft bid distracted Yahoo from developing exciting new products and allowed Google to jump ahead.

Among computer-makers, Apple led the competition with 85 out 100. Second place Dell earned a 75, and, like Yahoo, slid several percentage points since 2007. CNET wondered if Apple benefited from being “the only company that didn’t release a Window Vista PC.” The new Microsoft operating system has been a bit of a black eye for the company – whether fair or not. The ACSI polled consumers before the iPhone release and MobileMe bungling, so those two events had no effect on Apple’s score.

Apple and Google also deserve mention for being the only two breakaway hits in the tech sector. The other four categories all had much tighter competition this year. MSNBC and NYTimes snagged “Internet News” with 76 and 75. Toyota and BMW led “Automobiles” with a pair of 87s. All the “Major Appliance” makers got an even 80.

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