Apple is ranked below average in the Customer Respect Group's Spring 2004 Online Customer Respect Study.

According to the research and consulting firm, this study is the only one to bring objective measure to the analysis of corporate performance from an online customer's perspective. It assigns a Customer Respect Index (CRI) rating to each company on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest achievable score.

The Customer Respect Group interviewed Internet users and analyzed 1,000 Web sites. Web sites were judged on simplicity (ease of navigation), privacy (respects customer privacy), attitude (customer-focus of site), transparency (open and honest policies), responsiveness (quick and thorough responses to inquiries) and principles (values and respects customer data). These aspects were combined to measure each company's overall Customer Respect.

Hewlett-Packard scored highest in the Computer Products & Services category with 9.5. Also receiving higher than average ratings were Xerox, Lexmark, Oracle, Microsoft, eBay and Dell.

Apple received 6.6 – the average score was 6.8 according to CRG.

Potential reasons for low ratings are not responding to online inquiries, inaccessibility of appropriate contacts, sharing customer's personal data, and using cookie technology without indicating to customers that this can be disabled.