NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What's better than the best customer support in the world? No need for customer support, that's what.
Once upon a time, in the 1990s, I wasted probably 100-plus hours per year on various forms of PC support and maintenance. Booting up the PC took at least two minutes, there were updates to all sorts of programs, and the troubleshooting took place over the phone with some Dell (DELL) rep located in India.
It was an eternal nightmare. And a time-sink.Then came the Apple (AAPL - Get Report) stores, with their Genius bars. It took a few years before I made the jump, but I eventually switched a majority of my PCs from Windows to Apple. Every time there was a problem -- and God knows, there's one every few days -- I just take the elevator and walk around the corner to the Apple store down the street. The Apple store's Genius bar may not be perfect, but it was a huge upgrade from being on hold for two hours before talking to Dell's Indian tech support person. I couldn't have been happier. Every time I had a computer problem, I felt like I had been picked up on the battlefield by a Marine helicopter and medivaced to a fine hospital, a.k.a., the Apple store's Genius bar. I wasn't the only one who switched to Apple because of their superior tech support. As I looked around me at strangers and friends alike, it was evident that the Apple model was winning. The primary pain point for PC ownership was the constant need for various classes of tech support, and the Apple Genius Bar was the best game in town. So I bought the stock -- Apple. The investment thesis was the Genius Bar. Then came December 2010. Google sent me its first Chrome OS laptop to test. I got it right away: This was the simplest device on Earth to use. It made Android and Apple's iOS seem complicated in comparison. This first iteration wasn't perfect. It didn't have off-line access to Gmail, Docs and Calendar. The hardware was a bit under-powered, especially for multi-media such as telephony and YouTube.