Mac vs. Windows: Tracking the customer satisfaction gap

Generic PC users are happier than they were, but still not as happy as Apple's customers

The chart above, posted by my colleague David Goldman at CNNMoney early Tuesday, says it all.

The release of Microsoft (msft) Windows 7 helped undo some of the damage done by Vista, as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index's 16th annual survey of computer users. But Apple (aapl) remains in the lead for the seventh year in a row.

Apple's ACSI satisfaction rating is now at an all-time high -- 86 out of 100, up 2 points from last year -- thanks in part to the popularity of the iPad. Hewlett-Packard (hpq), Dell (dell), Acer and the rest are all bunched together at 77. HP is up 3 points from 2009, Dell is up 2.

"The biggest asset Apple has had for a long time is its commitment to innovation," ACSI's David VanAmburg told Goldman. "Others are improving, but the whole world watches Apple when it comes up with its new products each year."

Question for Mac users: What did Apple do in 2007 to harsh your vibe?

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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