Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dell Profits, Employees Lose, Customer Service... Who Knows?

Just within the last hour Dell has released it's latest bombshell, 8.800 jobs are being cut from the Dell workforce.

Shareholders have cause to rejoice the losses, in after hours trading shares rose 7% when news of the cuts spread. Employees on the firing line, not so much joy....

After a minor housecleaning at the top, it appears that Michael Dell is not finished with revamping Dell. The only question remains is who is going to be left to pick up the pieces and if 8,800 jobs are lost, what impact that will have on recent customer service initiatives.

I can't wait for the disgruntled employees to begin telling their tales! This sad saga is going to get a whole lot more fun before it gets better. And I mean fun to observe from the point of view of those of us who already managed to safely jump off the train wreck that is Dell. Once I quit dealing with Dell and began to focus on revenge, I must say I have been enjoying myself! And to think I owe it all to Michael Dell... hell, maybe he is worth 165,000,000 a year!

On the other hand, for you poor folk around the globe who get the pink slip, I am truly sorry. The only time I would enjoy seeing people being laid off is if they work for Satan.

Two paragraphs say it all...

Dell is shouting from the rooftops that the 9100 is a quality machine with no "pervasive issues" and of course, are denying that there is any problem with them for which Dell might be responsible... I thought I would have a look at the Complaint that lead to the successful class action suit against Dell and the 5150 notebook.

At least two of the three issues involving the 5150 are identical to the problems with the 9100 and so Dell must be horrified at the thought of the impending class actions involving a further 13 notebooks. I offer up the relevant paragraphs below so that you can read for yourself the similarities to customers experience with the 9100 machines... As you read the last bit, keep in mind the only solution Dell is offering for the 9100 is to replace the motherboard with a REFURBISHED mob at a cost of something around $700 with installation!

In other words, "Oh the piece of crap we sold you broke? Well, we can sell you another one just like it!"

Now that is great customer service Lionel! It would seem to me that if you are part of the charade you are also guilty, have you ever thought of that? And how much of an idiot does one have to be to try the same stunt twice when it already failed so badly for you the first time? I for one will certainly be pushing for punitive damages as this is clearly a deliberate and habitual behavior at Dell.


The Affected Computers are designed and manufactured with three uniform and inherent defects (collectively, the “Defects”). First, the Affected Computers’ cooling systems are inadequate to dissipate the heat generated through normal use. Second, the power supply system prematurely fails when used as intended. Third, the motherboards on the Affected Computers prematurely fail. Among other problems, the Defects cause the Affected Computers to shut down unexpectedly or fail to boot up and/or the batteries will fail to hold a charge, or will hold a charge for only a short time, well before the expected end of the battery’s life.

Dell also regularly recommends that owners of the Affected Computers replace the motherboard; however, for some period of time presently unknown to Plaintiffs, Dell replaced failed motherboards with motherboards sharing the same defective design, such that the replacement does not correct the problem. In addition, Dell profits by charging consumers for the parts and labor involved in such replacements.


Monday, May 28, 2007

A Marriage Made in a Trailer Park - Dell and WalMart get Hitched

Dell's first big foray into Retail partnerships has been announced and the lucky bride to be is Wal-Mart. The offspring is the Dell Dimension E521 and early reports are not favorable to the firstborn.

A note in the PCWorld review says about the machine "The system simply isn't up to running games: In Doom 3, it managed a skimpy (and unplayable) 6 frames per second at a resolution of 1280 by 1024 pixels. It also choked when we tried to play a DVD movie and convert an MP3 file simultaneously; the video became jerky and unwatchable." and yet on the Dell website we have an anonymous reviewer telling us the following... "This system screams - as a gaming computer it has totally changed my gaming experience - as a computer for projects and papers it has drastically improved my productivity." Well, this guy is playing pacman or somebody is pulling our leg on this one, and I don't think it is PCWorld!

I will say Bravo though, to Michael Dell for trying to bring computing to the great unwashed.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dell Inspiron, Meet Ford Edsel

Sounds like some story line from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy... I made mention of the Edsel/Dell connection in my first blog post and wanted to expand on that theme a bit...

I had laughed (prior to crying) when I first went to the Dell Forums and found a topic titled "Edsel 9100, oops I mean Inspiron 9100", then to refresh my memory I searched out the story behind the Edsel and it's sorry niche in automotive history.

Turns out the comparison is fairly sound, except for the part where Ford was smart enough to withdraw the car from the marketplace. Dell on the other hand, kept selling their Edsels and to this day are denying there is a pervasive set of problems with the Inspiron line of notebooks.

Ironically, Ford was able to post profits in the few years that the Edsel was on the Market, so Ford executives, other than being a bit embarrassed perhaps, were not unduly pressured by Stockholders despite the loss of some 2.25 Billion in todays dollars. Dell on the other hand, saw it's shares fall almost $9 in less than four months in 2006, it plummeted further in the year to a low of $18 and change, before clawing back to it's current price which is still well below the high at the beginning of 2006. When a company reports second quarter profits down 51% that has to hurt!

Despite an earnings per share of $1.33 reported last year, one cannot get optimistic until the fallout of the investigations into Dell's accounting practices is complete.

Well, any way the wind blows, Michael Dell will be okay... he made somewhere around $165,000,000 last year to add to the $15 Billion he has already.

Michael, if our roles were reversed and my company ripped off your daughter and I had $15 Billion, I would buy her the nicest computer I could find and send it to her with a box of flowers and an apology. But that is just me, so Michael, have a nice time in Monaco or where ever it is Billionaires are hanging out this weekend. And don't let your conscience bother you, it gets in the way of business.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blogs; the New Samizdats

I was contemplating the awesome power of blogs today, partially inspired by the attention lavished on blogs recently by Michael Dell, Dick Hunter, and Direct2Dell Guru Lionel Menchaca et al in an effort to plug the leaks popping up everywhere in the hull of the good ship Dell.

Then it occurred to me that I had seen this exact thing before, it was deja vu all over again.

Many people are unaware that one of the most valuable tools of dissent in the former Soviet empire was the SAMIZDAT. The word itself was coined in the 1940's and it means "self published". Faxed, photocopied, hand printed or pressed, they were passed around from person to person. It was a way to get the news out to the people, despite the efforts of the Government at propaganda and suppression.

One of the last great Soviet dissidents still active in Moscow and Russian Politics is Vladimir Bukovsky. He described the Samizdat in this way "I myself create it, edit it, censor it, publish it, distribute it, and [may] get imprisoned for it".

Well, except for that last bit, he is describing a blog... and sadly in some countries where blogging can induce flogging, it is an EXACT description of a blog.

But here in Canada, I can, within reason, say pretty much what I like. No Gulag for me if I say Michael Dell is full of shit and his mom wears Army boots. Not that I would say that, it isn't my style to be crude or un-necessarily rude, and everyone knows you don't bring someones mom into the tussle.

The power which is contained in the blogosphere (that is a lousy word, can we come up with something better??) has yet to be unleashed, we are just learning the strengths and weaknesses of this new tool , but I have a suspicion that if a Samizdat could help bring down the Iron Curtain, then a modern day Samizdat can bring down a curtain too, the curtain on this sorry mess at Dell.

Tonight I realized how powerful the tool at my fingertips is, it will be fun to see where it goes in the future, not just in the battle with Dell, I will be interested to see how this tool is used in the hands of other people, in other countries, with all sorts of political or Consumer issues.

Blogging Bloggers, which is NOT a Scottish Cuss Word, Despite What it Sounds Like.

As I learn my way around in terms of the blogging world, I am seeking out those people who are writing on similar issues to this blog. In doing so, I hope to learn from them and if I am lucky, to be entertained and educated in a single blow!

Decloned is an example of a blogger who has posted a very good bit of work recently and it also has some interesting interchange between the author and Dell staff who are involved in the outreach program in the blogging world.

On the personal front, I have now given our daughter our new Dell notebook (purchased just prior to the problems beginning with her 9100 machine), we took the old hp out of mothballs and my wife now uses it for her mail and a bit of online card playing (Spades thankfully, I think online poker is just a way of training/addicting a future customer base to gambling). Needless to say, the machine we lent my daughter is the last we will ever buy from Dell.

They just don't get it, we have been customers since the early days and would have remained loyal customers if they had done the right thing.

More links to good writers and bloggers as I find them...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dell Hell - By the Numbers

I always liked this kind of list, says nothing but says it all...

- Number of hits on google using the keywords Dell and Problem

89,000,000 - Number of dollars Dell spent last year investigating it's own accounting practices

227,706 - Number of hits on Youtube for the Dell "My PC is on Fire" Numa Numa Parody as of this morning.

227,864 - Oops, the new number for views of the Dell "My PC is on Fire" Numa Numa Parody, this baby is flying off the shelf!

4 out of 15 - Number of Dell computers that failed in the first month at a high school in the USA.

12 - Number of pages, mostly bitching about the 9100, in a laptop review in the UK

0 - Number of machines, peripherals and other products from Dell that will be purchased by me or my family in the next year.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why bother?

Why bother? Now that is a good question, and when I was asked I didn't really have a satisfactory answer. Satisfactory in the sense that I am not satisfied, and that is because the ugly truth of the matter is I am doing it for revenge. How petty of me.

No noble sentiment here, I don't give a shit about your computer or your problem with it other than the fact we share the same fate. It isn't about you my friend, it is about me. Me getting revenge on Dell for taking my daughter's hard earned money and selling her a turkey. You don't fuck with my girls...

My first impulse was to use the Revenge Lady but this is a bit more serious than that, I mean not serious like I need to bring in Blackwater, but serious enough, so this is a kind of a compromise.

Now revenge doesn't mean I want to see Michael Dell in chains, or some fellow in India lose his job. I can understand the fellow in Bangalore as easily as someone from Atlanta or even some Texans. I don't have an issue with outsourcing call centers.

I want the continual pressure from dis-satisfied customers and the bad publicity surrounding these issues to drive down share price and hit them where they hit my daughter, in the wallet.

So, there is the unsatisfactory, ugly truth, I am no Canadian Ralph Nader, Not even a facsimile of Jeff Jarvis, I am just some pissed of father with a cheap blog and a cheap lust for revenge. If this were a film it would be in Black and White and it would be narrated by a guy like Rod Serling.

NY Attorney General accuses Dell of Fraud!

WOW! How did this slip by me the other day... CNET News reported on a Wall Street Journal article by Christopher Lawton, wherein NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo accuses Dell of Fraud for making false promises to customers to drive sales. You can view a pdf of the law suit here.

Well, it is about time someone called a spade a spade. Bravo, Mr. Cuomo! I am beginning to understand why Dell has been so reluctant to deal with my case.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Driven to the point of Madness in Dell Hell

Well, I have been driven to the point of madness these past few weeks, I offered to contact Dell Computers to trace some problems with my daughter's computer and man oh man, has that opened up a can of worms.

Her computer is an out of warranty Inspiron 9100, turns out it is referred to as an Edsel and it is one of many turkeys in the Inspiron Line, many of which are the target of class action law suits in both Canada and the USA. Among them are the Inspiron 1100, 1150, 5100, 5150 and 5160 and under consideration are actions including the Inspiron 500M, 600M, 2200, 5000, 8000, 8500, 8600, 9100, and XPS.

If you currently own any of the models involved in the proposed or actual suits, you should be contacting the law firms involved. In Canada you should contact Rochon Genova LLP.

I can really only speak on the 9100 from personal experience but I am so pissed at Dell that I am prepared to be the next Jeff Jarvis type thorn in Dell's side! I am not sure if Jeff has retired from his crusade entirely or what, I am, as you will see below, new to all this! Jeff, if I am ever so widely read that you see this stuff, sorry for stealing the "dellhell" thing, but nothing says it better!

I will just hang this out there in blog land and see what happens, although I am a published author and journalist, I tend to ponder over my work for months and years, rather than try to come up with stuff "on the spot" so to speak.

As I warm to the subject I will try to find my "voice" in this new world! And for the Dell supporters out there, I know Dell is making huge efforts but it is still so far from what needs to be done as to be sad. My own experiences and those of others as recent as this past week, bear this out. I will post some of them here in coming days.

regards, duff