by Mike Masnick

Dell Learns The Difference Between A Fad And A Failure

from the keep-trying dept

Just a couple years ago, Dell's Kevin Rollins claimed that the iPod was "just a fad", despite the fact that Dell's own efforts in the space hadn't been too successful. A year ago, the company apparently decided it was a fad worth copying, as they came out with yet another iPod copycat device. Less than a year later? That device is dead. Fad or not, it would seem that Apple has won this particular round.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Dragon of the Skies, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:11pm

    Dell sucks. Hard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Xcetron, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:15pm

    Dell sucks? whats your recommended retailer of desktop and laptop products then?

    Dont even think of bringing Falcon Northwest or Alienware in here, those arent something a normal consumer would get.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Guy, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:18pm


    As much as it pains me to Admit it Apple did their Homework on the Ipod it's going to take something big to take the ipod down and right now even with M$ handheld comming out i think the ipod is safe for now

    Dell come on Apple is king or Queen depending on how you want to look at it the ipod has Won if your going to waste your money like that give me a few hundred thousadn and ill invest it and retire next year and live off the intrest

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Frink, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:19pm

    Maybe Dell can find a way to blame this on Sony. It worked for the exploding batteries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Guy, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Alienware is Dell

    Dell bought Ailenware early this year so when you buy an alienware you really just bought a Dell XPS BTW

    X eXtrodary
    P Peice of
    S Shit
    Northwest is still cool

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Gulfer, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:28pm

    Dell is a scam

    I think I would just go to ABS Computers and custom build your own.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Frink, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:28pm


    You are aware that there are more than three manufacturers of computers aren't you?

    And please define "normal consumer". Would that be a Dell fan-boy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    rhn, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:28pm

    iPod vs Dell's

    Dell's failure shows the result of a copycat production plan. How about doing some real R & D, with real advanced/kickbut-technologies explorations into some needed products + design with a human being-user in mind?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Erd, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:28pm


    Dell doesn't suck comparitively but boy have they gone downhill... I recommend Systemax ( over most other manufacturers... Reliable parts with replacement guarantee and quick service, American tech support that's qualified and knowledgeable, and deals comparable with or better than Dell, HP, or anyone else.

    Apple's engineers still reign supreme. Dell should've kept their mouths shut until they had something to boast. Now they just look like jackasses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Mikhail, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 8:55pm

    Re: by Xcetron that Dell sucks?

    I'm not saying that Dell sucks, but just because "everyone" buys something doesn't mean that it doesn't still suck...

    AOL has sucked for the last decade, but they basically owned the consumer for several years before broadband moved in - they still sucked.

    For buying a computer system, dell's just as good, or bad as anyone else. As far as laptops go, you just have to find the one that's right for you. Desktops - I've never bought one without assembling it myself (except my first computer, that was put together by my friend...)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    NaS8060, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:06pm

    Best computer..

    Is by far one you build. I have been in the business for a few years now and I guess I shall be the only one or first that points out it's not what you get, for the most part, it's how it's setup. I have a going on 7 year old eMachines running Linux and A Sony VAIO running MCE. All are maxed with RAM-a-lama-ding-dong and they fly. Reg tweaks always help. I'm not saying some systems just suck and need to be taken off the market but, yes there are some that need to be taken by to the: case designer, person in charge of deciding it's guts and the idiot that decides to load it with XP with only 128 megs. Can I get a AMEN!


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    NaS8060, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:09pm

    part 2

    ..was in a hurry and didn't proof read first. :)

    Those people named need to get hit with the case.

    And ps.. just built a system on Newegg for under $600 that I DOUBT will be slowing down anytime soon. Not with an AMD chip and 2 gigs of good stuff.

    Pease and hair grease

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:12pm


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Jay-Z, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:20pm

    Newegg is a great source but no business is going to buy parts and build a few hundred desktops on there own. HP is giving Dell a good run for there money but to really compete, they need to implement an easy order system for there corporate customers. As much as I despise dell systems, its hard to make a different choice when im on a schedule. With nothing more than the part number and a corporate purchasing account code I can make one call and have an identical system delivered within a few days. My time is best spent on things other than building systems.
    I would love to see Acer make more inroads in the US market. They make excelent systems and in most EU countries you can have a system built to your spec and delivered within 2-3 days. Best of all they will remember exactly what you ordered right down to what you do and dont want installed. Then you can call up any time and get the exact same thing ordered in an instant. I think that if Acer scrapped their current US operations and started over the way they did in some other countries, Dell and HP would both be in big trouble.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Xcetron, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:37pm

    As far as desktop goes, I'd rather build my own PC.

    But I know nothing about laptop so for those Id have to go to a retailer.

    And I am not a Dell Fanboy, I just prefer them over a lot of other stuff like HP or eMachines or the likes.

    And Newegg does pwn, theyre cool like that.

    I found a place called Cyber Power PC>
    Never bought anything from them before so I dont know how reliable they are, but the prices seem fantastic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Wangsta, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:49pm

    All fame and prejudice aside, Ipod is a solid piece of electronic device providing simple and clear interface. However, I think Ipod deserve the attention and fame for originality. Though there are a few better MP3 players on the market better than Ipod, it's been established for a while, thus has become the mainstream brand name, putting all others aside.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Wish you had one, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Re: Alienware is Dell

    Otherwise known as you can't afford one so you talk smack

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:35pm

    Players better than iPod... Yeah, they do exist. A friend of mine had one in High-School. It was REALLY nice, for the life of me I can't remember who made it though. The nice thing about the iPod though is that you can use it as not only a music player, but an external hard-drive. My research information is OLD, but when I was looking at suching things, many other MP3 players had issues doing that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:43pm


    They can just about all do that now.

    Creative's lines of MP3 players are much nicer than Apple's, IMHO.

    Creative's Zen Vision is a nice product line. For $399 (compared to iPod version for $299), you get a larger screen, magnesium case, FM tuner, organizer, voice recorder, CF reader, etc etc...

    Did I mention that iTunes Store is out of the picture? That's worth the extra $100 right there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    mark, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:46pm

    Bought a Dell 3k online 18mos ago. Tired of screwing with local built machine.
    Zero problems. No crashes or lockups, nothing. Ordering was a snap, as long as you think ahead and write down your wish list of options. Have yet to need tech support.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Me (no really it is), Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 12:20am

    yeah whatever

    So the dj's were profitable. The ditty's were ok, also profitable. And ipods are definitely profitable, considering how they are produced. Dell is now backing the creative labs photo players. I have always bought the flash based players myself. And i dare say you could always use the players as a mass storage device. Just a lil know how, maybe some duct tape. Dell used to offer the ipods. Dell also offered the dj line for longer than what is described here. I believe they were starting to go another way with the dj's and just dropped the development. Haven't got an answer on that one that I believe. It's just too bad that more reliable and more functional players aren't better marketed. It's not a tissue it's a kleenex. and It's not a suppository it's an ipod.
    Damn mac's are looking more like pc's everyday.
    It's sad, it's progress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re: Alienware is Dell

    Actual per the Business Agreement between Dell and Alienware, Alienware still makes and maintains there own hardware. So the XPS is not a alienware machine

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Horses Mouth, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 2:46am

    dells edge is cheap labor, cheap parts, and suppor

    there is no R&D from Dell, they are not a product innovator, only a process improver, thus copying, or outplaying the iPod is far beyond their core competency. They make PCs, cheap, crummy PCs, thats it. If you want a real computer you might buy a dell, or if you want to have more free buy a Mac, and of course you get an iPod to go with it.

    Then you watch and listen while all your neighbors try to find a better setup than you have with the Mac, iPod and iTunes...but there isnt a better setup. Dell and the typical PC buyer are what the definition of time wasting are all about....sure you think youre saving money...but if you stuck to doing what you did best to make your money...youd be far better off working a lil longer to buy the top-shelf idea that works...the Apple setup, than to try to brag that you saved $400 by using dell and crummy India tech support to try to get Windows and the DJ, Ditty or future zune to work...

    really whats your time worth? every penny you claim to save on a PC will be lost on supporting, upgrading, or repairing it, thus youre really a loser.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    michaelbb, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 4:26am


    IHMO Dell's systems have worked for me and when they havent I write letters and call into Dell's Corporate office and get someone off there ass to make it right. The part of DELL that DOES suck is sending jobs overseas to people who just plain and simply dont give a rats ass of what your problem is and do the bare minimum to get things done. I have there Laptops and 2 Optiplex's both brand new took me an extra week to get the video card listed on the site in the refurb section but after making phone calls for an hour one day while cooking dinner, and emails with a link to the confirmed order page that I posted off my web site "which shouldnt have had to be done" I did get the video card overnighted. I receive calls from the gentleman that corrected this for me and things have been fine. There are others out there but I am very happy with what I have. This doesnt always work for everyone and I hope like hell Dell does NOT fuck up Alienware computers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 6:05am

    now its time for the cheap chinese no branders to move out. after suffering with a 512meg one for a year, i have to say moving over to just a zen micro felt worth the extra hundred quid.

    as for apple, they've done a brilliant job with the Ipod. they made a Hard drive based player that does just the necessities (magnesium case? CF Reader? Toilet Paper holder? who needs it? its like phones these days with thousands of broken features for a little bit of 'oooh') for a reasonable price, and the interface a 3 year old could possible use.

    horses mouth: you're right, dell are too busy trying to make cheap pc's that won't work with anything. they should just drop trying to make £300 pc's that have less than 40gigs of hard drive, a crappy CD drive that breaks in hours, and less ram than you can shake a stick at. stick it all on a motherboard that has no SATA support, no LAN, 2USB ports and AGI (seriously, if they do use AGI, i will scream), and use their alienware aquisition to get a firm standing in the mid to high range market (while theyre at it, they should make the XPS cheaper)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 7:18am

    Re: dells edge is cheap labor, cheap parts, and su

    Save time, eh?

    So... you're saying that Macs can now play Half-Life 2 without having to reboot to XP via bootcamp?

    You're saying I won't have to hunt down software across the vast expanse of the internet to do what I can do on a Windows machine with the first hit on

    And you say the kid down the street knows Macs as well as he knows his PC and can give me instant support for a couple of sodas?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: dells edge is cheap labor, cheap parts, an

    Forgot to add this:
    Your statement does generally work for the low-end Dell desktops... but don't apply it to all PCs, especially not the ones that competent users build themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Robert, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 7:38am

    In the "mass-market" nationwide VAR business that I'm in, Dell or HP is really the only way to go. We need PC's (or at least our customers do) to run our software product. Sometimes we do put together a server, but if a workstation PC breaks, we do NOT want to have to have service people to swap out a hard-drive or any component. Those types of individual hardware service contracts just aren't worth it anymore to us. With the Dells, we can just extend the on-site warranty for 3 more years and concentrate on the software knowing that hardware problems are handled... We've been the ACER and HP routes, but Dell just caters to our bottom line with good deals up front and after the sale...

    Now for my HOME PC, that is a DIFFERENT STORY!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Topher3105, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 8:01am

    Keep going on about Dell sucks

    But they outsell Apple computer like 14 to 1, thats 14 million compared to 1 million.

    Stats alone along with the current trend of everything being built in Asia using cheap underpaid labour means that there is a higher number of bad computers coming out of Dell then Apple. Even if 1 % of every product made is a lemon (which is TRUE of ALL companies), Dell will ship 140,000 of them compared to Apple shipping 10,000. This is why Apple is falsely believed to be better quality over Dell. Both companies produce 1% products with defects, just that Dell ships a whole lot more then Apple.

    When it comes to the Digital Music Player front, Apple only owns the market because they know how to market a device. Blanket advertising with sleek looking Sony or Dell players and you will see a trend shift away from Apple. But all competitors biggest failurse with their devices is they don't know how to advertise or market their devices. iPods are great, I have one myself, but Apple has hardly innovated in this market, simply followed market trends where other people have done it first. Other people were the first with a digital music player, other people were the first with high capacity storage players, other people were first with color screens and photo and video support. Apple has FOLLOWED the industry with their iPod, and hindsight is always 20-20.

    But in the end, the music player market is small potatos compared to the computer market. Dell could build, sell, and fail a hundred times in the music player market, it doesn't stop them from shipping 14 million computers in a quarter.

    And don't believe for a second that Apple doesn't use the same cheap labour pool and facilities as Dell. Apple's quality control is diving these days and that is because everything is going to China to be built, and companies over there are starting to realize its quantity over quality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 8:05am

    Never buy from Tigerdirect

    Tigerdirect sucks!!! I once made the mistake of buying a comptuer from them. NEVER AGAIN! Not only was the computer completely non-functional (bad motherboard, hard drive), but getting it replaced or refunded was nearly impossible.

    Never buy from Tigerdirect. They will screw you up the wazoo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    gary holmes, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 8:25am


    Dell is bad,,don,t want the business, being old and new at comp, l bought a dell package, of course, printer only uses dell ink which l ordered $150 at a time,,needed some last Sat., phoned dell, lady very polite, ah but order desk says call later and l end up with a dead line,,well, short and sweet, went out and bought a HP printer and extra ink for same price, and good service, which does not come with dell,,,,,will do same with computer

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    david logan, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 10:27am

    my opinion is...

    ipods are for kids, and Dell is great!

    I had an ipod hated it....
    I bought an Inspirion E1705 and love it!

    who needed 2cents?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    Ntlgnce (profile), Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 12:24pm

    The Junk Drawer...

    IPod is definately a FAD. Think back to the BoomBox, Or the Walkman.. Where are they now? The junk drawer. They will be around a few years untill something better comes along...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Xcetron, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 4:44pm

    HP made some great printers, I'd admit to that.
    But as for PC, I'd rather not buy from them.
    Desktop, I will build my own, much cheaper that way and its more fun.

    As for Laptop, I'm still relatively new in that department, so I will either stick to Dell and Toshiba or just get w/e is great for what I'm doing then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Smokey, Jun 25th, 2007 @ 3:02am

    Tiger Direct

    Don't ever, ever, ever, ever, never, ever buy from tiger direct. If your even contemplating purchasing something from them first do yourself a favor and google tiger direct sucks, tiger direct scam or tiger direct rebate scam. This will answer any question you have about this company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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