Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dell and the Dark Side

Why is Dell still in business? Today I had to sit in on one of those long boring meetings where you can barely stay awake. We had to bring our laptop computers to this session. We use Dell computers at work. I had not plugged my computer in, so I went to borrow the plug from my neighbor's computer. Absolute shock, the power plugs were different! Unbelievable, so not only does Dell use non-standard power plugs but they even use different plugs between their computer models. There is simply no excuse for using non-standard power plugs for consumer electronics.

Another plaintive cry of pain: Why? Why? Why??? Power cord hell!

Recently I ran across this New York Times article: "Suit Over Faulty Computers Highlights Dell’s Decline".

Update: Soon after posting, I received an email informing me that Forbes ran the following: "Server giant Dell is warning its customers that a handful of motherboards were shipped with embedded spyware."

Another Update: Dell to Pay $100 Million Settlement. The Times reports: "“Dell manipulated its accounting over an extended period to project financial results that the company wished it had achieved but could not,” said Christopher Conte, associate director of the S.E.C.’s enforcement division, in a statement announcing the settlement.". It is never ceases to amaze me how a company that sells non-standard parts and uses "innovative" accounting can stay in business. It is also a sad reflection of what a US corporation should be.

I have never bought a Dell because when Dell was a relatively new company I ran across some posts that were very scary, Dell did not use standard power supplies. If you were to replace a Dell power supply, not knowing that fact, you would potentially destroy your computer. Fortunately, the internet has a long memory. "Warning! Dell PC owners read this before replacing your powersupply".

In an unrelated story, "Motorola Does Openness Wrong; Bricks Your Droid X If You Tamper".

The free-market is a wonderful concept. In theory the products that are produced serve the customer, but it seems that some companies in their quest for profits bastardize our economic system for their self interest, in the case of this post - non-standard power cords. Financial "freedom" nearly destroyed our financial system. Many people lament the loss of our manufacturing capability, but here you see companies purposely pursuing self-serving strategies that are ultimately destructive. If companies refuse to make components that obviously should be standard, regulate them.

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