The good news is that not all brain-dead computers are created equal. Hewlett-Packard had the best rating in the survey; its computers worked on startup 92 percent of the time. By contrast, 17 percent of AST users had a bad out-of-box experience. Interestingly enough, AST users, while reporting the most initial problems, were also the least likely to call tech support -- a level of diminished expectations that may explain how PC makers can ship nonfunctional products and still make the big bucks.
If 13 out of every 100 new cars wouldn't start, Detroit would be a ghost town. But somehow Silicon Valley keeps booming despite the fact that a significant fraction of the computers it ships either don't work as advertised or don't work at all. In a new Windows magazine survey, some 87 percent of respondents reported that their computers booted up just fine. That sounds pretty good at first glance; but what it really means is that an astounding 13 percent of PCs are either dead on arrival or seriously maimed.