04 October 2005

Dell Mistakes?

I've seen a few things about Dell that make me really question where they're heading lately.

First is the Dell DJ Ditty - yet another iPod "killer". You can tell how seriously Dell is taking this by:
1. It's name
2. The fact that it's not even mentioned on the front of their webpage, even in the "What's New at Dell" section.

Really, you'd have thought by now they'd have figured it out. And surely some strategy of a good name, a reasonable design and legendary Dell pricing (package pricing can hide all sorts of deception can't it, Dell?), would have allowed them to offer SOME sort of competition? Instead it's rather pathetic on all fronts.

Fine you might say, Dell isn't really in that market, but what about this?
Basically Dell is launching a higher priced range of machines known as the XPS range.
There are lots of comments on this move - Inquirer, CNet etc as well as the link above which I've posted to because it links to others.

But this just sounds to me like Dell is telling it's existing customers NOT to buy Dell because really we don't give proper customer support. If you want that, pay more. Sure you get "better design" (not sure about that) and higher-end components. But then isn't Dell all about giving value for money? It's like Ryanair introducing sleeper beds. Dell has lost a lot of credibility lately around its customer support - dropping significantly in some recent surveys (you can google on this). Many people have turned away because of the Dell Hell reputation, and/or the Dellhi experience. So, the answer is to charge a lot more and say you only have to wait half the time to be answered by someone who is more trained than the usual call centre monkey we give you. That's not a strategy that I see is going to work.

But if you're a higher priced quality company like Apple or Sony, you might be comforted in knowing that the world leader is basically admitting that you can't just compare equipment on price anymore, and that for the better experience you have to pay more. Isn't that what Apple, Sony and others have been saying for years?

Of course, the other thing it says is that PC's are too damned complicated so our support costs are too high. Wouldn't you start to do something about that too?

I think the Dell machine is stuttering a bit. Too early to say anymore, but I think they'll need to refocus their ideas a bit better than that to resume their amazing growth.

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