Apple vs. Samsung: customer satisfaction gap narrows

(MoneyWatch) The newest cell phone industry numbers from the American Customer Satisfaction Index came out, and the gap between Apple (AAPL) and its smartphone competitors, including major rival Samsung, is narrowing. The change suggests that Apple's flagship product, and the largest source of profit for the company, has lost a "bit of its luster," according to an ACSI press release.

On a 100 point satisfaction scale, Apple received the top score of 81, a 2 percent drop from last year. This year, Motorola received 77 while Samsung and Nokia each got 76, which were increases of 5 percent, 7 percent, and 1 percent respectively.

The ACSI is a "cross-industry, national measure of customer satisfaction" that "rates more than 230 companies across 43 different industries."

Even with the drop, Apple was ahead of its competitors, but the difference gap is shrinking. The company does far better in the personal computer category with a score of 86. However, according to market research agency Millward Brown Optimor newest global brands ranking, Apple still has the most valuable brand in the world with a brand value of $185 billion. Google (GOOG) and IBM are second and third, respectively.

Not every cellphone maker saw an increase in customer satisfaction. LG Electronics went from 75 to 71, a 5 percent drop, and HTC saw its 2012 score of 75 sink by 4 percent to 71.

When it comes to wireless telephone service providers, Verizon (VZ) led the pack with a score of 73. Next was Sprint Nextel (S) at 71. AT&T (T) had a score of 70, while T-Mobile brought up the rear of the major carriers with 68.