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Dell has a "Dismal" Third Quarter

November 16, 2012

One of my favorite companies is Dell. I’ve been using Dell computers now about 20 years and love the computers Dell makes. Unfortunately, my love for Dell certainly did not translate into enough money to help the company this quarter. For that matter, I can safely report that not one penny of my money went to help the company this quarter. However, I did buy some nice tablets! They just were not Dell brand devices.

For its part, Dell still has a solid business. Even so, it is seeing sales decline and it’s not only because we are in a “post-PC”era. Dell seems to be ignoring its non-enterprise customers entirely. Briefly, Dell has issues in a number of areas:

  • The order system is not very flexible and it is virtually impossible to customize machines
  • The order system does not provide accurate descriptions for some options it does offer
  • I cannot figure out how to order physical media for Windows!
  • Customer support people are clueless or just read scripts
  • Dell has no cool laptops to rival the Macbook Air or Asus Zenbook

While the enterprise customers make up a large percentage of Dell’s revenue, I assume, I also know many, many people who buy machines for use at home and have some influence over the purchase of machines in SMBs.

For its part, Dell has tried to bring some innovative tablets to the market and they now have an ultrabook. Still, they apparently cannot match the engineering of Asus and Apple in terms of building some really thin machines that look really good.

I really do wish Dell the best of luck. I like the company. It still makes good computers. However, when I can go to Best Buy (yuck!) and get a machine that looks better and has more-or-less the same configuration, that means Dell has dropped the ball. Dell, I bought my last laptop at Office Depot! Why was I forced to buy my laptop off-the-shelf at Best Buy? Your quarterly results do reflect your inability to execute in areas that matter.

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Paul E. Jones

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