Apple's US tech support is better than that of any other US computer maker, reports PC World Magazine.

The results emerge in a survey among 29,000 readers, the magazine concluded that while PC support remains shaky and reliability is slipping, Apple rates higher than any other manufacturer.

Across all manufacturers, half the respondents reported hold times of five minutes or less. However, in contrast to last year's report, fewer people said their problems had been fixed within five days, and just 53 per cent said their problem was resolved the first time they called tech support.

The survey suggested that most PC companies are slipping in their tech support provision: Dell, Gateway, Micron, and HP/Compaq all achieved lower marks than in the previous year.

PC World commented: "Cut-throat competition and a sluggish economy have forced companies to watch what they spend. Though PC makers insist they're investing heavily in service and support, they may not be investing as much as they did in years past.”

It added: "Customers are very impressed with Apple's technicians."