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Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 04:55 am PT (07:55 am ET)

Briefly: Mac customer satisfaction, Apple-Beatles rumor

In speculation that appears to be based on date only, The Beatles-Apple rumor has returned once again; and Apple wins yet another customer satisfaction survey, despite a slight drop in score.

Apple leads PC customer satisfaction

In a new study from The American Customer Satisfaction Index at the University of Michigan, Apple once again leads its PC counterparts in customer satisfaction. The Mac-maker had an 84 percent score this year, 12 percent ahead of its next-nearest competition, Dell.

However, Apple's score did drop 1 percent this year, while the rest of the PC industry has improved. The overall industry ranking increased 1 percent this year, to 75, following two straight years of decreases. But Apple's decrease didn't affect the Cupertino, Calif., company's stature.

"The decline has done little to hurt the large lead Apple has enjoyed for six straight years over the Windows-based manufacturers," the study states. "Apple maintains a 12 percent lead over Dell, one of the largest gaps between first and second place for any industry."

When compared with other companies in surveys, Apple consistently outperforms its competitors in customer satisfaction and service.

For the quarter, the overall ACSI index is at 76.1 on a 100-point scale, an improvement of 0.1 percent from last quarter and 1.3 percent from a year prior.

"The recession has shifted demand towards lower-priced PCs and Hewlett-Packard is taking advantage by rolling out more of its less expensive Compaq models," said Michigan Prof. Claes Fornell, head of the ACSI. “Recent sales are up and HP’s share value has more than doubled relative to market since the beginning of the year."

The Beatles on iTunes?

With this week's news of a likely Apple event on Sept. 9, speculation has grown that Apple will announce the availability of the artists' catalog for purchase on iTunes. Of course, this rumor has surfaced and resurfaced numerous times over the years.

This time, the assumptions are based on the date: 9-9-09 is when the band will re-release their entire discography, all digitally remastered. It is also the launch date of the upcoming Beatles rhythm game, Rock Band: The Beatles.

Rumors of The Beatles' songs coming to iTunes are nothing new, but it was far less likely to happen years ago, when Apple and the parent company of The Beatles, Apple Corps, were engaged in a trademark dispute. In 2007, those issues were resolved, leaving many to believe an appearance for digital downloads would soon follow, though it never did.

Whether the Sept. 9 date has to do with planning or mere coincidence remains to be seen.