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Dell: No longer a PC company (reuters.com)
49 points by marklabedz 779 days ago | comments


DarkShikari 779 days ago | link

The headline is linkbait: they said they're not just a PC company, they're primarily an enterprise-oriented company. Of course, this is a given; that's where most of the profit is.

Dell still makes money off their personal computers, but the margins are simply way higher when selling to corporate. Personal computers have a huge amount of competition and support is expensive.

And though iPads are probably hurting Dell somewhat, I suspect the effect is a little different from 'people switching to tablets'. Rather, most people don't have money to afford both a new iPad and a new PC. While in the past, upgrading ones PC every few years has often been a given, many people will pick the iPad over the the new computer if upgrading doesn't really seem to offer much value in comparison.

They'll keep using their PC -- it's just that they're not buying a new one from Dell.

The low-end PC market is very saturated and very low-margin; even if Dell still has a lot of sales, they're going to talk about the thing that makes them the most profit.

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jimbokun 779 days ago | link

Everything you said sounds like "No longer a PC company" to me.

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artsrc 779 days ago | link

Apple have very respectable margins on their their PC's. Apple's market share is growing.

I would like to see simple desktops hardware (like a Nintendo Wii), servers in the cloud, and Dell to disappear into the sunset.

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DarkShikari 779 days ago | link

Apple have very respectable margins on their their PC's.

That's because they don't participate in the aforementioned low-end PC market. Dell makes respectable margins on their high-end brands (Alienware), too.

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beloch 779 days ago | link

My previous laptop was a Dell XPS M1330. It ran linux well, although the fingerprint reader never worked properly for authentication outside of Windows. Unfortunately, it was one of the many laptops from many manufacturers that included a defective NVidia graphics chipset. Dell issued a firmware "upgrade" that simply cranked up fan speed (making the laptop run noisier and consume battery power quicker). They also extended the warranty slightly. My particular laptop lasted until a week after the extension and promptly fried itself. Arguably, if I had not dutifully installed that firmware "upgrade" it would have burned out under warranty.

So, I knew what had happened to my laptop. The symptoms of a M1330 with a burnt out graphics chipset were common knowledge online. I didn't feel like buying a new laptop right then and there, so I decided to contact Dell and try to pay for a replacement part. I was routed to a call-center in India where the employees had a set script and absolutely nothing would deter them from following it. Even though I knew what was wrong and just wanted the part to fix it, they told me I had to pay them $50 so they could diagnose the problem themselves. i.e. $50 so they could move to a different section in their script and, if it was well made, tell me what I already knew! I tried to escalate the issue, but no luck. Dell had clearly dumped their customers on this third party call-center and cut all backwards lines of communication.

I know other companies may be little better and this mess was really Nvidia's fault, but I refuse to send more business to a company that I know will do everything in their power to avoid taking care of me. They provided a hot-fix that they knew would just barely delay failure until my laptop was off warranty, and then they treated off-warranty service like a money-making third-party contract.

Dell ultrabooks? No thank-you.

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accountoftheday 778 days ago | link

There appeared to be an agreement among vendors that nobody would acknowledge the existence of the Nvidia G84 issue because warranties had expired or were close to expiration.

My in-warranty (4 years IWS turned out to be a great decision) T61p had the same issue, and I too had in fact figured out what was wrong with it while my Thinkpad was still under warranty, but Lenovo did not send me a replacement notebook (newer model) until having replaced the planar twice with the same GPU, all of which that had ever been made were known to be defective.

Interestingly, the Nvidia GPU in the newer T410 I got is much slower than what was in the three years older T-series -- when it worked.

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Mavrik 779 days ago | link

Interesting, my M1330 got motherboard replaced within a day after the nVidia died. Still works perfectly, I've never been happier with a laptop.

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cryptoz 779 days ago | link

Apple better shut down, give up, and let Dell run everything. Apple doesn't stand a chance.

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-203937.html (1997)

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otterley 779 days ago | link

In 1997, when Steve Jobs had just taken over the company from Gil Amelio, betting against Apple seemed like a sure thing.

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2muchcoffeeman 779 days ago | link

I use a lot of Apple gear now. I bet against them during that time too. Apple wasn't doing well and Jobs wasn't exactly coming from a company that was a massive success.

It wasn't until the early 2000s when I realised that myself, analysts, non-Apple fans in general were constantly wrong.

What is most interesting, is that people still bet against Apple and bring out the same wrong arguments year after year.

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mbreese 779 days ago | link

I know I lost a bet over Apple recovering. Ironically, it was only 4 years later that I bought my first Apple since a IIc.

I think I still owe someone a bottle of wine over that bet.

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jkahn 779 days ago | link

Dell servers and enterprise storage are second to none, in capability and price. This isn't an "announcement" from Michael Dell, it's a statement of fact: they are a major player in the enterprise IT equipment game.

If you're an IT infrastructure geek, you should check out the way their EqualLogic storage works.

This is why companies like HP are suffering greatly: Apple is hitting into their consumer division, and Dell is hitting into their enterprise edition with capable solutions at a great price point.

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fumar 779 days ago | link

"A lucrative market that he said is worth $3 trillion," sounds like a nice market to be. In the last couple of years it looked like Dell was meandering. If the whole time they were internally focusing B2B it will pay off. I know our company, runs entirely on Dell's systems, a high end retailer. Michael Dell's supply chain is great. http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/direct2dell/b/direct...

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chc 779 days ago | link

This headline is rather link-baity. In the context of the full quote, it's clear that he isn't saying they're not a PC company, but that they aren't just a PC company. Similarly, someone at Apple might say, "We aren't a company that designs cool phone hardware."

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toddh 779 days ago | link

>We aren't a company that designs cool phone hardware."

That's just where we make 70% of our profits :-)

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nextparadigms 779 days ago | link

It looks like a classic innovator's dilemma case - moving upmarket because they can't beat the disruptive competition at the "lower-end". I expect most "PC leaders" to follow Dell's strategy in the next 5-10 years. Intel and Microsoft will be forced to do the same, if nothing else because they will still consider them their customers.

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joelhaasnoot 779 days ago | link

Though Apple may be impressive, I actually find Dell's complete supply chain much much more impressive. Sure they're rough around the edges for the "experience", but nothing a couple of expensive consultants can't fix. Maybe a mindset change is needed though. I think with some reinventing they can pull it off. Creating a tablet (Dell Streak), pulling back and then planning more tablets is such a "half move"...

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mbateman 779 days ago | link

Dell's supply chain is very impressive, but so is Apple's.

And user experience is "nothing a couple of expensive consultants can't fix"? Really?

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dasil003 779 days ago | link

> And user experience is "nothing a couple of expensive consultants can't fix"? Really?

If that were even remotely true then Apple wouldn't be as beloved or as profitable as it is today.

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Zirro 779 days ago | link

"Sure they're rough around the edges for the "experience", but nothing a couple of expensive consultants can't fix."

I'm surprised to see someone say that at this point. Not thinking like you is what made Apple the success it is today.

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joelhaasnoot 778 days ago | link

There's a reason I said "Maybe a mindset change is needed though." It's the little things and attention to detail. For large organizations, that can be very hard to grasp. It's things like telling you when configuring a Dell computer about every little sticker. No one cares. However, there are plenty of people who still want to be able to configure their computer to the detail Dell allows, without building it yourself.

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jimbokun 779 days ago | link

Wow, Apple has beaten them so badly in the personal computing space they are essentially ceding the market.

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pedalpete 779 days ago | link

Are you sure that is who they are ceding the market to? http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/10/despite-record-mac...

http://news.lenovo.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1565

Lenovo grew 30% to Mac 26%. Of course, Macs are growing, not ignoring that, but they aren't the only ones.

Lenovo pays attention to design, and though they may not quite have the polish of Apple hardware, they are getting better, and some of their designs really are beautiful.

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jrockway 779 days ago | link

Dell: now selling to customers that don't realize they're getting a shit product.

(Actually, I hear Dell's servers are pretty good, and their business laptops have treated me reasonably well. But they are no Apple when it comes to design and polish, and it's nice that they've admitted that ripping-off Apple-shininess is not a good business model.)

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artsrc 779 days ago | link

> "it's an end-to-end IT company"

Maybe Amazon is an end to end IT company. You can buy your PC, and host your application server side.

Dell don't seem end to end compared to companies that have their own database, and operating system, etc. Oracle, Apple, and IBM all seem more end to end.

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idont 778 days ago | link

Dear Michael Dell, regarding your product: Why are you still putting the price as a first argument? Do you really think you can compete against Chinese companies? You frienemy Steve Jobs proved you there is an other path paved with bricks of quality, value, ...

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jakeonthemove 779 days ago | link

That's good news - Dell's (and HP's, for that matter) business machines are simply awesome. I'll never buy a consumer laptop again - heck, the M4600 and M6600 are faster and better looking (IMO) than the most expensive gaming laptops - why would I ever go for the latter?

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kayoone 779 days ago | link

had some dell latitudes but i wasnt really impressed by them. Build Quality was okayish, touchpad was horrible and it had CPU whine. Much happier with my consumer-macbook pro now.

But Dell had awesome service for business customers, if you have a problem theres a technician the next day at your doorstep to fix the problem, that was really awesome.

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jakeonthemove 778 days ago | link

The latest Latitudes are good, but I was thinking about the Precision line - those things are awesome...

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