Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Dell Battery Recall- Win for the Web 110

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-this-isn't-exactly-new dept.
conq writes "BusinessWeek has an article on how the Dell recalls show the true power of the web and how the attack on the Dell batteries evolved on the web. From the article: But in cyberspace the race was on to dig out every last byte of 'truth' about those flaming PCs. Gadget news blogs like Gizmodo and Engadget spat out facts and rumors with equal zeal. They were relentless advocates for the consumer, too. On July 31, Engadget posted photos of a Dell notebook that had caught fire in Singapore. Its comment: 'We'll keep posting these until we see a recall or a solution, so please, Dell, treat 'em right.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dell Battery Recall- Win for the Web

Comments Filter:
  • by doce (31638) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:19AM (#16007640) Homepage
    This, of course, assumes that "the web" was directly at cause for the eventual recall.

    Having worked QA for a competitor of Dell's that's under similar scrutiny, and knowing what mechanisms we had in place, I would imagine that the various bloggers had - at best - a tangential relationship to the end game here. Of course, that's assuming that Dell has QA mechanisms in place that are at least half as smart as ours were...
  • by Lord Padishar (994400) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:20AM (#16007652)
    I'm just surprised Dell owned up to replacing 4 million batteries. that's a pretty big kick in the wallet for Dell. the funny thing is that Sony was the battery manufacturer; Dell just purchased the batteries from Dell and stuck them in their laptops. I wonder if sony will bear the financial burden when all is said and done.
  • Not a win at all (Score:4, Insightful)

    by falcon5768 (629591) <[Falcon5768] [at] [comcast.net]> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:21AM (#16007658) Journal
    There is no reason to think that JUST because the images and such where going around the web, Dell wouldnt have recalled them any later than they had. For one thing the recall hardly effected Dell, as the batteriers themselves where Sonys fuckup not theirs (and as such are effecting Apple too and possibly other companes) Secondly there is no evidence that it was just because of the exploding battery incidents that they where recalled.... they could have been planning a recall well before this.
  • by Were-Rabbit (959205) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:22AM (#16007668)
    In many ways, this can only be a good thing. Years ago, it was always a bit easier for companies to have defective products or bad customer service because there was no way to really get information out to the masses.

    Because information can now get distributed to millions of people by pressing an Enter key, it's great to see that things like this can be exposed. If anything, this should make companies look more closely at product quality and customer service -- or so we would hope. After all, a common mantra in marketing circles is that people rarely say anything when a product does what it's expected to do, but you can be sure they'll let as many people as possible know when something goes wrong.
  • by DarenN (411219) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:27AM (#16007719) Homepage
    I'm really sick of these "bloggers are great" article. There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there. Nearly all of them are irrelevent crap. Some have evolved through effort and investment into almost proper news sites. Congratualtions to them. Now stop calling yourself blogs. You're news sites (because you don't just post unsubstanciated crap).

    Face it folks, your "blogosphere" is a mob of people who believe anything that their favorite "blog aka news site" posts, and that is ANYTHING AT ALL at times, and repost it themselves, often not even bothering to change a single character. They have no power, and never will. It's essentially the same as the fat outraged bloke in the pub that never shuts up about what he read in The Sun, despite not ever checking facts, figures, or common sense. I wish people would stop glamorising this crap.

    And I'd like to say one more time, to all those who DO use their brains, and use sources, and not fly off the handle (like the O'Reilly incident), thanks for the news.
    To Slashdot I say: Check the stories.

    End of Rant :)
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother AT optonline DOT net> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:30AM (#16007747) Journal
    There is no reason to think that JUST because the images and such where going around the web, Dell wouldnt have recalled them any later than they had.

    No, but it certainly was a powerful incentive, given that negative publicity, despite what they say, isn't necessarily a good thing. Dell couldn't afford to have Sony's problem destroy their laptop business; in turn, they simply couldn't roll over on Sony, given the business relationship. In the end, the Internet end of the campaign was only one component of the change, and though important, was probably not the biggest factor.

  • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:31AM (#16007757)
    Years ago, it was always a bit easier for companies to have defective products or bad customer service because there was no way to really get information out to the masses.

    Er... exactly how many years ago do you mean. Over her in the UK consumer programs on television have been seriously high in the ratings since the sixties - maybe even the fifties but my family only got a TV in 61, so I can't remember. And before that there were the curious things called newspapers which... well you get the gist of what I'm saying. Even today, for the vast majority of consumers the prime source of information will be television, and that internet thingy is only used by the kids/for e-mail/pr0n/on-line poker.

  • Dell vs Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:34AM (#16007790)
    Didn't Apple just recall well over a million batteries for pretty much the same exact reason?

    Why is it that when someone like Dell has a problem leading to a recall it's assumed they were doing something wrong. Either they're trying to cover up defects, or they're unresponsive to customers or everything they make is crap.

    Why is it that when the same exact thing happens with Apple suddenly the apologists come out of the woodwork. The defect isn't Apple's fault first of all, and when Apple finally gets around to acknowledging the problem and recalls the product people insist that it proves they care about the customer.

    Dell laptops come with defective Sony batteries: Dell is crap.
    Apple laptops come with defective Sony batteries: It's all Sony's fault.

    Dell recalls batteries: Dell would never have initiated the recall if it hadn't been for bloggers.
    Apple recalls batteries: Behold Apple's benevolence.
  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:35AM (#16007802)
    ...is another man's Mob Rule.

    When the "blog-O-sphere" gets it wrong, will there be any mainstream media left that's not already been cyber-whipped and pixel-chastised enough who might call them on it?

    The Guillotine has gone out of fashion, and been replaced by The Drudge Report. That still places civilization ahead.


    I think...

  • Face it folks, your "blogosphere" is a mob of people who believe anything that their favorite "blog aka news site" posts, and that is ANYTHING AT ALL at times, and repost it themselves, often not even bothering to change a single character. They have no power, and never will. It's essentially the same as the fat outraged bloke in the pub that never shuts up about what he read in The Sun, despite not ever checking facts, figures, or common sense. I wish people would stop glamorising this crap.

    There will come a day when innuendo replaces fact, thanks to the rapidity with which things spread on the Internet. One blogger picks up on something, two more repeat it, and so forth and so on. Of course, like the game we all used to play in school, where someone whispered something to you, and you to the next person, invariably the original message becomes garbled. The Internet is just a large example of this, as the story gets repeated and tweaked with each iteration, as bloggers apply their own personal view to it. There comes a point where fact-checking is impossible, because the "facts" are no longer that, facts.

  • Watchdog (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordSnooty (853791) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:38AM (#16007833)
    There's a TV programme in the UK called Watchdog. They complain to companies on behalf of customers, who have not been able to get the service they expect. The amalgamation of many complaints plus the visible negative publicity usually gets the company to change their position.

    How is this any different? It's not a win for the web at all, but a win for people who complain en masse, and a win for negative publicity shocking a company into action.

    Apparently Dell were "EMBRACING THE BLOGOSPHERE". Yet this only happened after the recall was announced.
  • by fimbulvetr (598306) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:48AM (#16007914)
    The television and newspaper give you the news. On the internet, you go get the news. Big difference.
  • Re:Tinfoil Hat On (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daytona955i (448665) <flynnguy24@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:58AM (#16008025)
    Or maybe, just maybe, a company said hey, these are dangerous and we should recall them. Companies do it all the time even when there's not a chance of things catching on fire. Perhaps it's to avoid a class action lawsuit, perhaps it's ethics, perhaps it's because if they don't, people won't buy their product anymore.

    I could post doctored photos posing as various different people and cause an "uproar." Does this mean a company like Dell is going to recall their product with no investigation into my claims? I'd hope not.
  • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @10:59AM (#16008033)
    You kind of missed my point - what I'm saying is that the internet has yet to make that big an impact in consumer protection. The field is already quite well covered by media that have existed for decades.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:01AM (#16008046) Journal
    The risk to any individual from one of these batteries was infinitesimal. All the web did was sow panic by allowing a small number of isolated stories to become replicated many times over on the web giving the impression that these laptop batteries were dangerous. If driving were made 10 times safer it would still be far riskier than owning one of these batteries and if the safety standards applied to these batteries were applied to cars we'd be driving around at 10mph with a runner in front of our cars waving a flag to warn people that we're coming.

    If there's one thing that's missing in our modern hi-tech society it's modern hi-tech assessment of risk.

  • Re:Tinfoil Hat On (Score:3, Insightful)

    by P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:05AM (#16008072) Journal
    Funny you mention it but I would bet a dozen donuts that dell had a failure % specified in their contract that would trigger a recall. Methinks people on the net have an inflated view of their importance.
  • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:10AM (#16008127)
    I watch my non techie friends and peers as they purchase IT equipment. The process is
    1. Watch TV add for local PC super store
    2. Buy one, maybe two, magazines called something like PC Weekly but decide that they can't understand the jargon
    3. Go down to PC superstore and buy whatever it is the salesman is pitching
    4. Approach techie friend to sort out the mess
    I'll admit that the techie friend is likely to be more aware of Dell's batery problems as he saw the picture when it was e-mailed around, but, as you can see, in my experience they only come and ask after they've handed over the big bucks. In this common (?) scenario the influence of the TV is far higher than the influence of the internet. Maybe Joe Shmoe is more internet minded your side of the pond.
  • Re:Dell vs Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imikem (767509) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @11:26AM (#16008261) Homepage
    Because the difference between the companies is pretty much as you stated, even though you were apparently trying to argue the opposite?

    No I don't quite believe that, even though my experience with Dell in the past two years has been horrendous - little things like 100% failure on 200 or so corporate desktop PC hard drives, ~50% mobo failures on same (GX-270 if you want to know), multiple DOA laptops, server build quality into the toilet with idiotic case designs, crappified rack rails, reduction in drive bays, I can't go on without calling my rep to bitch more (or his boss, or whoever there, none of whom give a crap since my company doesn't buy 10000 at a time).

    Contrast with Apple, from whom we purchased some lowly 12" iBook G4s for IT staff remote use (VPN, remote desktop, and Cisco console connections in emergency, with USB to serial adaptors). They've been trouble free, except mine, which gets treated pretty harshly, and had the HD give out after a year and change. I called, talked with a rep in less than 2 mins., gave them the scoop. They sent a shipping box overnight, I sent it to their repair facility, had it back the next day. And by the way, they replaced the mobo as well at that time for a problem with weak 802.11g reception, which I had vaguely noticed - it was good enough to use everywhere I use it. I hadn't even thought to mention it to them. They just did it.

    So yes, I can vouch for a difference between the two. Apple is hardly perfect. They're just a lot better than Dell.

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.

Working...