Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Nomination for Useless Blog of the Year

Well, I thought I had it sewn up in the catagory of "Useless Blog of the Year" until I went along to good old to check out the latest from Dells' Talking Heads.

Perhaps inspired by the recent Olympic Games, Dell has recently been putting on a display of customer service that is astounding observers and customers alike. Last year at this time the crisis was selling laptops to students, knowing they were needed for the school year and also knowing they couldn't possibly deliver them on time. This year it is melting graphics hardware.

Check out the Dell company blog site dealing with the Nvidia meltdowns and for a laugh wade through the thousands of comments from unhappy, angry customers. Dells' resident talking head makes his contribution to the discussion in two ways 1. Announcing the Party Line 2. Responding to comments to his blog posting. And for those two reasons I think Dell wins the useless blog award hands down.

These aren't blogs, they are the party line, and the concept of Dell communicating with customers is a laugh. The chief blogger, in both the blog and his responses to comments, simply states the party line and recycles techie info. He does not respond ONCE to a unhappy customers comments. So what is the point?

Now that is what dell does so well in regards customer service, chart a new course and then ignore the fact that the ship isn't turning and continue full steam ahead on to the rocks...

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Crux of the Biscuit...

A great analysis of the current crisis facing Nvidia, maker of a faulty GPU found in many Dell Inspiron computers (and a host of other laptops from other computer manufacturers) can be found in a great article by Charlie Demerjian.

In any case, since Dell came out with a BIOS that 'fixes' the non-existent problem almost two weeks before the disclosure in the Nvidia 8-K on July 2. They knew HP laptops were bad, they knew Dells were bad, and we know the chips are all bad, but NV keeps stonewalling and spinning very different stories to analysts. They haven't mentioned Apple and Asus yet, but if you look at their forums, they both seem to have a high rate of early Nvidia GPU related failures.

That brings us to the next problem, namely full and fair disclosure. Dell and HP know the extent of this, as presumably do other OEMs. Is it collusion when they do not disclose an event likely to be material to both them and Nvidia? Not a peep from Apple and the others yet though. Apple never admits to even crippling failures of its products, it might damage its halo. When the first lawsuit hits, the documentation of who knew what, when is going to be REALLY interesting.

So my point of blogging this is simple... is this further proof of Dell (and the American Business Model) being broken and corrupt? Is it more "Freedom From Business as Usual"?

Presumably Dell was aware of the problem some time prior to the bios fix they announced and if they continued to sell computers with this chipset after that date, when they knew it was faulty, it would be a sad indictment of Dells' business practices.

Even the "fix" of the bios is a joke, it doesn't fix anything it just makes the fan run more... Way to Go Dell!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another Class Action Lawsuit - Dell Hell Payback

I missed this one a few weeks ago, but it seems that Dell has been caught up in yet another Class Action, this time in the State of Illinois

Seems Dell was offering rebates to consumers and then refusing to pay them! Dell insisted it was immune from legal recourse because of a clause in the customer contract that expressly forbids the consumer from pursuing legal action!

Judges rightly held that this clause was unacceptable in Business in the State of Illinois. A point also upheld in New Mexico in a similar case and reported on in the Wall Steet Journal.

Hey, suits in Round Rock, here is some free advice... if you want your children to grow in to productive, HONEST citizens, you might try setting a better example. Do what is right and stop selling off your integrity in return for share price.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Freedom from Business as Usual??

I saw a youtube still while looking over the latest Dell news and the image behind the speaker was a slogan "Freedom from Business as Usual" which is totally ironic... way to go Dell.

As far as most consumers can see, it is "business as usual" at Dell, in other words, good luck with your computer should it fail... "Freedom from Business as Usual" would be a relief but is highly unlikely given that it has been a few years now since Michael Dell retook the helm and set about steadying the sinking ship... Perhaps he should focus on Dell instead of Newcastle.

The real issue this week though is harder to find... it involves the new line of laptops which promise 19 hours of use for the chronically connected or "digital nomads" as Dell refers to them. Problem is the battery only lasts 10 hrs... to get the full 19 hours you need an add on that attaches to the laptop! Dell doesn't even tell you that in the press release except in the "fine print" which never seems to make it in to the consumer conscience. something most companies already understand!

A reasoned explanation of battery life as it applies to Dell products can be found here, now when it comes to truth, who should I believe? Dell, who are on record for fraud and many other serious examples of consumer abuse, or the guy who wrote the battery article, who as far as I know is just a nerd with no axe to grind?

Real busy? Always using your laptop on the go? Need 19 hours of battery life?

Buy a spare battery.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Teacher, Leave Those Dells Alone...

Dell continues to lose ground in sales to its rivals, this time it is those rebels in Cupertino, the Apple gang, that have stolen a slice of Dells' pie. ran a great article on the shift in purchasing by Teachers at institutions across America. The results of the study will be depressing news in the boardroom in Round Rock.

Now why would teachers shift to other brands, particularly to a Mac? Dell will likely say privately that it is a reflection of customer dis-satisfaction with Vista in particular and Windows in general... and that might well be part of the problem, but more likely it is the case that Dell has been feeling the "effect" part of Cause and Effect.

Further effect may be felt in the very near future if Apple goes ahead with its expected plan to lower prices on some notebooks in coming weeks. This would be a declaration of war on the PC makers who have been somewhat insulated by the higher pricing of Apple products until now.