Lenovo responds to laptop reliability study

November 20, 2009 // 12:56 p.m.

Tags: #extended-warranty #failure-rate #lenovo #notebook #ray-gorman #reliability #reliable-notebook #squaretrade #warranty #warranty-repaiur

After a fairly poor showing in a study on laptop reliability, Lenovo is fighting back - disagreeing with the results and questioning the motives of the company behind it.

The study, carried out by SquareTrade, attempted to quantify laptop reliability over a three year period and showed Lenovo's range of business-oriented notebooks pipped to the post by Asus, Apple, Toshiba, Dell, and Sony. However, Lenovo isn't happy with their placing - and is calling shenanigans.

Ray Gorman, executive director of external communications at Lenovo, points out that while the study looked at data from 30,000 laptops from nine manufacturers and across three different categories, in an industry which shipped 142.5 million laptops last year the "total number claimed in this report is not a statistically significant sample for a study where no attempt is made to control key variables affecting repair rates, such as comparable machine types, end users, geography, and applications."

As an example culled from Lenovo's own warranty repair data, Gorman points out that the company would "expect a 10X difference in repair rates between systems bought for [secondary school] students and systems used only in a home office by adults," a distinction which isn't made by SquareTrade's study.

Arguing that SquareTrade "has a vested interested in showing scary failure rates as they have done here [as] they are in the business of selling after sale warranties," Gorman claims that Lenovo's internal data shows that laptop failure rates are "at least two-thirds lower than what is claimed in the Square Trade survey."

For those concerned by the high rate of failure that SquareTrade quoted in their study, Gorman says not to worry: "PC hardware is extremely reliable, and this study is full of holes[, as the] method is flawed, the data is inaccurate, and the conclusion is wrong."

Do you agree with Gorman's criticisms of the SquareTrade study? Was the entire point to convince scared punters to cough up for extended warranties? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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