The results of Nikkei BP Consulting's annual after-sales services survey are out with Apple Japan moving up from sixth to second place in the personal computers category.

Last year Apple achieved a rating of just 12.7 in 2002, rising to 44.1 this year. Although Dell is still ahead with 56.6, Apple has now risen above IBM Japan (41.3) and NEC (31.8).

The report examines the reasons for Apple's journey up the ranking, suggesting Apple's "big move" was to offer a face-to-face service at Apple Store, Ginza, Apple's first retail store in Japan that opened in November 2003.

Apple has one up on Dell in this respect, as the report explains: "Dell's eReal Site is only for sales and does not do any repairs. Apple's upper hand in this area is obvious."

The report concludes: "In this year's survey, Apple leads the pack in customer satisfaction at storefronts, ranking in at the top of this category."