Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Almighty Buck

Dell To Sell To Retailers 194

dmarx writes "The Boston Globe reports that Dell, which has heretofore sold only through its website, direct to consumers, will now sell generic computers to dealers. This marks a shift in Dell's business model."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dell To Sell To Retailers

Comments Filter:
  • Does this mean Dell's will drop in price, and that they'll show up in my local computer store?
  • One of my first PCs was a Dell, and I still have it running as a linux router. Whenever someone that doesn't know much about computers asks me about buying one, I tell them to check out Dell, mostly because of the excellent support, and pretty decent quality hardware.

    To have them available in a store is even better, since the hefty shipping costs to Canada can be a bit of a deterent.
    • I believe this is good, very good. Offering their PCs in stores will of course increase sales, but also be a way for people who don't like to shop online to buy offline. One small question: under this new deal, will there be support centres as well?
    • Whenever someone that doesn't know much about computers asks me about buying one, I tell them to check out Dell

      And I send them to Apple... Breaching the Microsoft monopoly, bringing Unix to the desktop and actually giving people a hassle-free environment... Now *that* is *helping*.

      Dell has become really overpriced since their brand is so well-known.

      • Well, now you can get a Dell with FreeDOS. And then you can just download a corporate version of windows xp (for those that use windows) without product activation.
        • If it must be Windows, I really prefer Windows 2000. (Or NT4, for older machines). Actually, this weekend I installed Lycoris and it worked out of the box. Unlike Windows 2000 or Windows 98 which didn't find drivers for at least 2 devices (3 in 98). (Tri-boot machine).
          Just a question: how is this a valid reply to my post? I was talking about putting Unix on the desktop and you talk about a Warez Corporate Version of Windows XP??? That helps nobody: you still help the Microsoft Monopoly by making people dependant on the platform (which is not Unix, one of my points remember?)
          • Yes, I suppose that's true. When you said "breaching the microsoft monopoly" I assumed that simply not giving them money was enough to do that. I see your point though. But I'm sure you also realize that people who are dependent on Windows are usually simply not capable of running Unix, either because a lack of intelligence, a lack of interest, but it's usually a combination of both. I'm sure you also realize that if you do try to convince someone to run Unix, who isn't interested, they will just learn to ignore you and probably all your advice.
            • Yes, you are right about the fact that most people already are dependant of Windows and couldn't care less.
              But I'm that is why I convince people to buy a Mac. Really, I have bought one last december and I'm a "switcher". Look, I still have my P-III 800/786Meg (with a nice LCD flatscreen), which is much more powerfull than my iBook G3 600Mhz/384Meg... however, the Mac is just painless. Nice sleek interface, everything I need is there and installing soft wasn't so easy since the DOS days... What to ask more?
              Point is: it is Unix. So Unix on the desktop is possible for normal users... they won't know it, but they will get the benefit of it.
              People whom I consider intelligent enough will get an easy Linux distrib installed by me. At least, when the next worm-of-the-day comes along I have something to fall back on when they are in deep trouble. I hope they will give it a try instead of wasting 1.5Gig of space I usually reserve for Linux on machines that are not mine. More and more people are getting fed up with Microsoft you know, and not only geeks. (The PC I talked about belongs to a good friend of mine who is in *MARKETING*...now try to get that.)
  • The price starts at $499 for a unit with an Intel Celeron processor, CD-ROM and floppy disk drive and Windows XP.

    Damn, they ought to incoroprate this idea with the no-OS deal [slashdot.org] reported on a few days ago. That would make for small companies getting into the Linux scene a probable reality, IMO.

    It would be nice if people could get what they wanted how they wanted it from who they wanted it from.
    • It would be about $299 without the m$ tax.
      • Hey now... Don't knock my company :) That 'tax' is there for your convenience.

        If he ever gets fed up with that evil free software, he can install Windows on that machine and not worry about licenses. He already bought one! How convenient huh?

        Oh, and writing the name of my company with a dollar sign instead of an 's' is childish. Give it a rest. That's old already.

        • Hey now... Don't knock my company :) That 'tax' is there for your convenience.
          Thanks for the laugh.

          If he ever gets fed up with that evil free software, he can install Windows on that machine and not worry about licenses. He already bought one! How convenient huh?
          Not. Are they going to supply a normal install CD?

          Oh, and writing the name of my company with a dollar sign instead of an 's' is childish. Give it a rest. That's old already.
          Agreed. I'm tired, and it's an old habit.

        • Oh, and writing the name of my company with a dollar sign instead of an 's' is childish.

          Didn't you write a BASIC interpreter for the Altair and the Apple II? If so, isn't this correct BASIC?

          10 LET M$ = "Microsoft"
          20 PRINT "Buy "; M$; " software today!"
          30 END

          In old versions of BASIC (i.e. before QuickBASIC), names of string variables ended in a $ character. M$ is shorter to type than "Microsoft".

    • That is no longer an available option. If I recall correctly Microsoft exerted enough influence on the major resellers to stop them from offering no-OS computers. There is a chance that this being a white box, and not branded as Dell, and since its only 1% of their revenue MS might not notice/care, that they will be allowed to ship them no-OS, but its doubtful.

      Then again, would alot of 0-100 businesses be interested in no-OS PCs. Perhaps the price savings are a nice incentive, but have there been any statistics on the percent of small, medium, and large businesses that actually use non MS OSes?
  • They should have taken a lesson from Gateway... this doesn't work! Also, didn't they try and sell a line of computers retail (I forget the name of the system, it was smiilar to IBM's NetVista) and it went down the tubes?
    • The difference is that Dell is not going to open stores. They won't have the rent expense to deal with.
      • Eep, shoulda read the article. But I didn't mean like Gateway's Country stores... Dell for a while was selling them in retail stores like Office Max and Office Depot. That appearently didn't work out.
  • WRONG TOPIC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doubtless ( 267357 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @12:41AM (#4109699) Homepage
    Dell is not selling to Retailers, no, you won't see that brand new shiny Dell in BestBuy or Circuit City. Dell is only selling 'generic computers' to dealers who in turns sell them to small businesses.

    I thought true slashdotism (not reading the story) only happens to joe six packs, and no the editor..
  • Thank goodnes .... could this be the end of that @#$%! annoying kid that runs around saying "Dude! You're getting a Dell!" After all ... if they don't depend on mail order / corparate orders anymore ...
  • Back in 95 they tried a build to order system with Touch Screen kiosks in some Price Clubs (Soon to be Costco)

    I worked on the kiosk system... it was kinda cool...

    They didn't sell many systems though...
  • by mike3411 ( 558976 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @12:47AM (#4109720) Homepage
    I've noticed that Dell seems to be shifting away from customizability and towards mass production of more standardized models. Their most "value" -priced desktop [dell.com] model is all but unconfigureable [dell.com].
    • Interestingly enough, that second link of yours lists the ship date of that particular machine as September 10 (This as of 8/21/2002). Clicking on the ship date states that it will take about thirteen days to process the order, build the machine, and ship it.

      That doesn't sound very mass-produced rapid delivery to me!

      (Compare: I purchased a Dell earlier this summer and customized everything, so that had to be all handled specially, no basic assembly-line there. The time from ordering to arrival at my doorstep was four days. Nice.)

      Maybe they're just backlogged this week, or strapped for parts?
    • I think the biggest value added in Dell's business has been their build-to-order, which helps them reduce the inventories to minimum, as well as the optimization of the whole supply chain. It seems quite strange that they now enter the mass market, especially when they're not a component manufacturer, but an assembler of computers.

      Here's an extract from dell's website, stating their mission. Note that the new model conflicts with mostly everything.

      ---clip---

      Price for Performance. By eliminating resellers, retailers and other costly intermediary steps together with the industry's most efficient procurement, manufacturing and distribution process Dell offers its customers more powerful, more richly configured systems for the money than competitors.

      Customization. Every Dell system is built to order. Customers get exactly, and only, what they want.

      Service and Support. Dell uses knowledge gained from direct contact before and after the sale to provide award-winning, tailored customer service.

      Latest Technology. Dell's efficient model means the latest relevant technology is introduced in its product lines much more quickly than through slow-moving indirect distribution channels. Inventory is turned over every 10 or fewer days, on average, keeping related costs low.

      ---clip---

      Looking at this, I cannot help but wonder what is driving these guys into mass markets? It has never been that attractive a market, as you can see when you look at most other traditional computer manufacturers (HP, IBM...), as they move away from the manufacturing into more profitable e-business, system integration and consulting.
    • Aye! I tried to configure a laptop just today and found it impossible to get rid of the silly MS Office cruft as well as the OS. Hint to Dell: I do not want, need, or in any way care about using MS software. Nor do I intend to support any company that tries to fore-configure anything on me. So guess what Dude? I am getting a Powerbook [apple.com].
      • Can you get a powerbook with no operating system installed? Wow I didn't know that...
        • He wasn';t talking about no OS, he was talking about having everything pre-configured and unchangeable. First, if you bought the new mac, why would you want anything other than OS X as your primary OS. Secondly, though macs do come "pre-configured" it is a basic configuration to allow mom and pop to take it out of the box and use what they want. However with a simple mouse click (or sometimes just a bit of reading the actual preferences) all the power features can be turned on or off to your liking.
  • by TimeTrip ( 254631 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @12:48AM (#4109722) Homepage
    "which has heretofore sold only through its website, direct to consumers"


    My first PC was a dell dimension 386 SX-25 with 2MB RAM bought back around 1992/1993.. and it was bought at a Price Club.. now known as CostCo. So I'm not sure that statement is entirely accurate..

    • Actually.. after thinking about it some more.. it wasn't a dimension. I think Dell still uses that name .... I'm think it was a Dell Precision.

      BTW, it was bought in-store. You picked the one on display that you wanted, and dumped the (heavy) boxes into your shopping cart and paid for it at the register.

      I do however remember the custom order kiosks another poster mentioned.
    • Costco and Price Club merged years ago into what is now Costco, in case you are wondering.
    • I remember seeing Dell's at retailers like compusa during the early and even mid 1990's as well. I recall they left because retailers were complaining that they made too many different models and that it was expensive to stock due to shelf space issues. I know bestbuy stoped carying imacs for this reason( too many colors ). Apple changed their new imacs to white to counter this and gateway opened up their own country stores to show off all their models. Gateway too use to sell to retailers but retailers complained about the large selections.

      Anyway what dell did was to decide to go into mail order only and keep their different models rather then slim out into 1 or 2 lines only like HP or Compaq. Then the internet came along and they made quite alot of money through internet orders as well and then through television commercials. The investors want Dell to continue growing and non technical people get their machines from a store and prefer to look around and ask a salesmen rather then buy pc's from the internet or through mail order ads from computer magazines. I bet Dell will supply a limited selection of models for the stores and keep their customizable machines online.

      It makes perfect sense.

  • This will either propell Dell to undisputed leader or be their downfall as the pressures of regular retail margins make them lose their competitiveness.
    • I don't think it's really that big of a deal. The article did say the sales are only expected to account for 1% of their revenue. Actually, this is pretty much a no-lose deal for them. The local dealers will be providing the support for the boxes, so they won't have any support overhead in that respect. If they make a go of it, they just have a cheap way of unloading a number of boxes in bulk. If it doesn't go over, no biggie, this is just a side line. It really doesn't effect their core business at all.
  • Bad move (Score:4, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @12:56AM (#4109740) Homepage
    As an OEM, it's hard to turn down retailers who are asking to resell your product. Basically what it boils down to is whether or not the retailers are cannibalizing your own direct sales.

    Dell has made an enormous investment in proving themselves to be a good online/catalog source for PCs. Direct sales are nice - you get fatter margins (my guess is 20 to 35% for Dell) and all you have to do is stick the labels on the boxes. Compared to the cost of manufacturing a PC, the cost of sticking labels on 100 invidual boxes vs shipping one big box of 100 pcs is negligible. The sales work is completely automated now.

    What Dell needs to ensure is that their retailers are reaching *new* markets - people who would not have otherwise bought a Dell. The worst case scenario is that people browse their web site to get the technical specs and pricing, and then head down to their local retailer to actually buy it. Dell still sells the same number of units, but they make $200 apiece instead of $400.

    My company [slimdevices.com] makes *half* as much per-unit when we ship in qty to a reseller vs direct to a customer. We want out resellers to be happy so they'll promote the product, but at the same time we miss the margins for direct sales. You can't be greedy though. Sometimes a smaller piece of a bigger pie is better. Good luck Dell!
    • Wouldn't it be the easiest to sell the PC cheaper via the website, or rather more expensive via the retailers?
      Or will the retailers not play that game, because obviously many people would look at the PC in the store and buy online...
    • The worst case scenario is that people browse their web site to get the technical specs and pricing, and then head down to their local retailer to actually buy it.

      On the other hand, people may go to a retailer, be informed and then buy the computer slightly cheaper from the website. I used to advise people a strategy like that: go to an expensive store with knowledgeable personel, make a choice and then go over to the cheapest crap store and buy it.

      • I knew Shircuit Shitty was good for something!

        This is exactly what I have been doing for years; look at the components I want in person, get a feel for them, then go search the net for the best price. I'm sure I save well over $1000 a year if not more by doing this, with the added advantage of actually getting to touch/feel/interact with the product.
    • That's why they won't brand them as Dell. They will probably be your standard little white box deal. I think one thing that will help them here is inventory management. If they have a bunch of X model mobos they can't use in custom boxes they can push them through this channel. Interesting.
    • My company [slimdevices.com] makes *half* as much per-unit when we ship in qty to a reseller vs direct to a customer. We want out resellers to be happy so they'll promote the product, but at the same time we miss the margins for direct sales. You can't be greedy though. Sometimes a smaller piece of a bigger pie is better. Good luck Dell!

      Doesn't everyone already know that this is how business works?

      My company [crackaficionado.com] makes *half* as much per-unit when we ship in qty to a dealer vs direct to a customer. We want out dealers to be happy so we don't have to do all the pushing, but at the same time we miss the margins for direct sales. You can't be greedy though. Sometimes a smaller piece of a bigger pie is better.
  • by E-Rock-23 ( 470500 ) <lostprophyt.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @12:59AM (#4109746) Homepage Journal
    OK. Gotta sort this out here. If Dell sells to retailers (which will mark up the cost a bit to give them a profit, bumemr), what will Billy Boy and his gang in Redmond do? Will they adapt their license agreement (again) to force Windows onto these machines? Some retailers do sell PCs with vacant HDs, allowing for OS choice. I'm willing to bet MS won't take too kindly to that...

    Or could this be a tactic to circumvent MS? If Dell sells directly to retailers, could they install another OS onto the machines (ie Linux, FreeDOS, etc)? Does MS's license cover Direct-To-Consumer PC makers adding in the retail factor? This is going to be an issue to keep an eye on...
  • Dell computers are basically white box computers using mainly Intel parts. That has been their design for years. So they are going to try and sell to their competition the little computer shops that have a bigger selection of parts. I don't think that is going to fly. Now if they are going to try and sell these things to consultants that want to add selling systems to their services maybe that will fly. Gateway tried something like this years ago. They sold their regular line of computers to consultants at a discount. I think will be another Dell idea to come and be gone a few months later.
  • Will this turn out as well as the Gateway retail stores [didn't]? i.e. when acting more like every other company out there, eliminate any competitive advantage?

    Why can't a company ever take a good hard look at itself, decide it's doing basically the right thing the right way, and leave well enough alone? Is the temptation to reorganize truly irresistable?
  • I thought people LIKED ordering from people one rung below tech support. Yeesh.

    Now I can have the radioshack pimply teenagre nervously listen to my orders of Anza Nodes and Niad Brasuhes not knowing if I'm for real or not.

    • KanSer wrote:

      Now I can have the radioshack pimply teenagre nervously listen to my orders of Anza Nodes and Niad Brasuhes not knowing if I'm for real or not.

      It's a NIAD pulse converter and an ANZA brush. Jeez, you kids today.

  • Hmm... I wonder if they'll sell them pre-configured with Linux. That would be great to have them selling Linux to normal consumers again.

    Besides, aren't they looking to sell PCs with Windows, but still meet the requirement that their PCs have an OS? Forget that free DOS their including...put Red Hat on it. Then they'll have something worth talking about.
  • I have a 4-year-old Dell laptop. My mom has a 6-year-old Dell laptop. I have a 3-year-old tower. My brother has a 4-year-old tower. My dad has a 1-year-old tower. My step-mother has a 1-year-old tower. We have several servers at work that are also Dells. I may have left one or two out. Sure, it's a bit of brand loyalism, but it has paid off. Every one of the aformentioned machines is still rock solid to this day. The only maintenance has been upgrades for more RAM/HDD space and the like. Honestly, my friends and I haven't had any such luck with other brands. When the screws fell out of my laptop (I guess cuz of too much abuse on camping trips), a Dell tech was at my house next day with a little bag of screws. You really can't beat that. I've had nothing but good luck out of Dells. Although I run my own custom-built system, I always recommend other not-so-technically-inclined users to Dell just for the stability and support you get out of them. That makes for fewer tech support calls to my cell phone and that makes me a happy person.

    I wonder if the generic systems are going to be just as stable. Are they going to have to rebrand all of their parts (since all the stuff in the past 2-3 years has had Dell printed EVERYWHERE!) Maybe a migration towards not-so-proprietary hardware. In that case...d00d! Yer getting a white-box Dell! (Sorry, had to do it...gotta fit in with the rest of the posts).

    And a side note about the Dell dude: Apparently he isn't much different in person. Or so I've been told by friends of mine who have met him (the Dell dude and I are from the same home town).
    • a Dell tech was at my house next day with a little bag of screws.

      And pardon me dear sir, but what the holy heck is your excuse for not having your OWN little baggy of screws?

      (I actualy have a chest of screws sorted by thread size but. . . . thats me, heh)
      • what the holy heck is your excuse for not having your OWN little baggy of screws?

        Maybe Dell screws are special. Like, their heads are made out of chocolate and shaped like small copies of Madonna? Compaq was really big on combined Torx and regular flat heads for the longest time. Besides, laptop screws are so small that if you drop them on the floor, the dust-mites inhale them.

        Mmm, chocolate...

    • My dad has had serveral Dell laptops from work.
      The first one was okay, the second one had a failing CMOS (now that is very weird) and the third one had a Harddisk that blew. All these three machines were configured in the most *bloated* way I saw.

      He now has his own Dell (he absolutely didn't want to switch...and honestly, it's still better than Compaq. But my heart goes to IBM, Toshiba and Apple). It runs rock-solid and nothing bloated on it, but that's only because he bought it, never turned it on, pushed it in my hands and said "reinstall it clean". Now, seems he learned something from having bloated soft on his machine.
      So far no hardware failures on that one. I still cross my fingers.

    • I have a 3-year-old tower. My brother has a 4-year-old tower. My dad has a 1-year-old tower. My step-mother has a 1-year-old tower

      .. we lived in Manhatten till last Septemeber.

    • Same home town? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TechnoLust ( 528463 )
      So you are from Chattanooga, TN [cnn.com]?
  • Just after I quit watching tv in part because of the Dell commercials...

    When I walk into Best Buy I will have to deal with another pubescent pimple popping teenager saying "Dude your getting a Dell!"
  • BUT boy does their service SUCK! They'd better improve their service or else this will quickly go down in flames!
    • I'm trying to remember Scott McNealy's exact quote at LWCE. Something like "Buy your Linux PC at Walmart instead of Dell. You'll get the same service."
    • I've found Dell service to range from the great to the appalling; sometimes within the same month.

      A couple of years ago, I bought 50 PCs from Dell. 49 worked as expected, one had a dodgy video card (three bluescreened ('98) straight away, but that's a different story). They refused to send out a new one for ages; first of all insisting I perform a bunch of patently unnecessary diagnostics & reinstalls, then stalling me, then losing my details, then, weeks later, sending out a new card.

      On another occasion, I rang about a fucked hard disk (under warranty), and they had a guy around the same day with a replacement.

      Before you all berate me about my intolerance of helpdesk foibles, let me assure you I'm sympathetic. Having techsupported in the past, I'm fully aware that everyone who rings a helpdesk is a lying bastard. But really: who in their right mind insists on an OS reinstall when the machine's failing in the POST?
      • My most recent example...at home, my Dell monitor gave out--flicking and being all blurry on me. I had my wife (who's not really a super-technical person) call up the next day when I was at work...

        Basically, they said the monitor line was defective, I was still under warrenty (bought the computer 2 1/2 years ago with a 3 year warrenty), and they would send a new one within 2-3 business days. (This was on a Thursday, by the way.)

        Great! I totally didn't expect them to do jack, especially not replace my monitor that quickly.

        So...what do they do? Monitor on my doorstep via Airborne Express at 11am THE NEXT MORNING.

        Yes, they overnighted me a new monitor when I was in year 2 1/2 of the most basic warrenty--all when they made no promises to me any sooner than 2-3 business days. (Meaning Tuesday or Wednesday the next week. Obvously, I wasn't thrilled about having no monitor for 5 days.)

        So, in my experience, Dell's service is outstanding. They get a big thumbs up from me.

        -Jayde
        • When I worked at my last company, they had all Dell machines. One went out, and it tooks DAYS of sitting on hold for 1-2 hours to get through to someone. This was WITH the paid next-day support.

          When it was time to upgrade the machines, we bought all Compaqs. With Compaq, I call, 3 options in the voice mail, and I'm talking to someone within 5 minutes. They overnight all the parts to us, etc.

          I've had several bad experiences with Dell, I had nothing but great experiences with Compaq (going back 5 years to a stint at Citrix).

          I realize that lots of Slashdotters are really impressed that Dell gave them the overnight treatment for their basic service plans, but that didn't help me. It would somethings take 2-3 days to get someone to the office to fix the problems. We're paying for next day, so that's unacceptable.

          Alex
      • If it's failing in POST, how can you do an OS reinstall?
  • 8/20/02,
    Dell generic comps will sell,
    So called "white boxes"

    The model is called,
    White Box D510,
    Goes for $499

    It comes with Celron,
    CD-ROM and floppy disk,
    And Windows XP :(

    What do people say?
    Analysts like idea, but,
    HP unimpressed
  • Is it that Dell the hardware Microsoft is starting to lose profit? And have to now expand their offerings to stay afloat without massive layoffs?
    I am guessing the Compaq HP hail Mary merger has actually got them a little nervous.
  • Only if I get to throw a pie at that Steve kid. Gosh, he's annoying. Come to think of it, I'd like a Steve skin for GTA3 so every time I get beat to a bloody pulp by angry gang members, I won't feel so bad about it.

    "Dude, I'm getting a TIVO. No more Dell Kid!"
  • by EMIce ( 30092 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @01:18AM (#4109797) Homepage
    I've seen their machines at Staples, though years ago. But the fact of the matter is that their not selling to any dealers. Only dealers "who serve businesses with 100 employees or fewer." So don't count on seeing an unbranded Dell at the local PC shop anytime soon.

    My guess is these white box specials will come without Dell technical support and will sell at a lower price, all the while helping Dell get penetration into small to medium sized businesses. The consultants that service these companies often opt for generic machines so they can make a couple bucks. After all, you can't buy a pricey Dell and mark it up. This move from Dell basically allows the consultants to acquire Dell's at dealer pricing, as long as they provide the technical expertise when typical problems arise. It's less problematic than cobbling together poorly tested combinations of generic parts and there is still a profit to be made. A good move on Dell's part if you ask me.
    • My guess is these white box specials will come without Dell technical support and will sell at a lower price, all the while helping Dell get penetration into small to medium sized businesses.

      If you'd like to stop guessing:

      The price starts at $499 for a unit with an Intel Celeron processor, CD-ROM and floppy disk drive and Windows XP. A monitor is not included and the PCs can be upgraded upon request. Each computer includes a one-year warranty on parts and telephone service for the dealer.
      My question is what kind of telephone service does the dealer get. I mean, if you can get an unlimited number of lines/long distance, $499 is a great deal for one year. My dad pays SBC/Pac Bell $500 a month for telephone service.

      Wait a second...
  • by unsinged int ( 561600 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @01:22AM (#4109813)
    1. Dell sells to small-business retailer.
    2. Retailer wipes Windows off the machine, installs the OS of the small-business' choice.
    3. Retailer sells machines to small-business.
    4. Retailer builds furniture from thousands of unused XP cds.
  • generic repackaged Dell! B..but it's still a Dell!
  • "The Boston Globe reports that Dell, which has heretofore sold only through its website, direct to consumers, will now sell generic computers to dealers."

    Why does this make me picture some shady guy stopping passerbys with, "Psst...wanna buy a whitebox?"

  • by DaedalusLogic ( 449896 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @01:44AM (#4109856)
    Will they still use all their freaky proprietary connectors I've seen in some models? That would raise the cost of any retailer trying to support the machine. It's little things like a drive bay just a little too thin in width or a power/everybutton connection to the mobo. That's what got me out of manufactured PC's years ago.

    Also, "Steven" and I were in the same class in high school. He's a nice guy, a bit goofy at times, but all in all ok. It's funny working in a world where people crack on him as an icon. I'm as annoyed by his character as the rest of us, maybe a little more. I hate anyone that acts like an idiot constantly. But way to go... If I could fall ass backwards into an ad campaign like that I'd love it. Go Dude Go!
  • I wonder if this will help smaller businesses compete in the government (municipal/state/etc) bids. What I'm really wondering is if these generic computers will be Gartner Group Tier-1 or 2 certified (whatever the hell that meant in the first place). Because smaller businesses that pieced together SuperMicro and Asus motherboards along with Intel and AMD CPUs in neat little Acer cases just couldn't bid unless they were reselling Gateway, Dell, HP or Compaq which really left bids for the big guns to win.
  • What makes generic Dells better than what generic retailers are currently marketing?
    • One thing I've learned about "brand-name" PCs (even though I know these are "no-name") is that the components are tried and true in terms of their compatibility. Well, I really haven't noticed this for PCs, because that's not my bag, but rather, in servers. For instance, how many times have we pieced together a motherboard, memory, video card, and hard drive (I mean, how simple can it get?) into a case and NOT have it work because of some incompatibility?

      Well, all I know is that I cracked open a couple HP LPR1000r (1U rackmount) servers and those motherboards have the ASUS name on it; however, it seems to have been a custom make for HP. Also, the same ole' sym53c1010 chips are sitting on that SCSI controller. But I believe the big difference is the testing -- the damn stuff just works together.

      So, because I haven't got my hands on one of these whitebox Dells, I can't say for sure. But I'm pretty much going to guess that what makes this Dell a better no-name than the mom-and-pop no-name is that the components are tested to be reliable, but even more important, compatible.
      • Very true, but most generic PC retailers will know enough about the hardware that's on the market now to let a customer know if there's a gross incompatibility. (Oh, no, NO sir, you don't want to use that video card with that motherboard, it won't work)

        Not to say that all retailer know what they're doing, but most do, especially the small shops.

  • That Dell will drop their non-standard case and motherboard layouts? For anyone that has worked on a Dell you know what I an talking about. They have a PCI riser card and crap that turns the PCI cards parallel to the motherboard. Making the case so that you can't put a standard ATX Motherboard in there. If you wanna upgrade the mobo in it you have to trash it and buy a new case and motherboard from an independent reseller.
    • Probably never. Dell was one of the first of the minor PC makers to have their own motherboards like Compaq, Digitial, IBM... did. Everyone else was using Taiwanese generic motherboards. QC on the motherboard and QC on the parts is how you can honor multi year service contracts at a reasonable cost.
  • Sure, I think that the prospective costs of a "whitebox" computer could definately let someone purchase a Dell computer for a great deal cheaper than they can get directly from the online Dell store. I think a lot of the markup on most major brands (not just PCs, but this applies to everything from clothing to cars and then some) is the brand name. There's always someone out there who has a similar product for less price. Just take a walk through your local grocery store and you'll see all the generic brands available, side-by-side with the name brands, and the costs are a lot less. So now that Dell is selling these systems without their logo, the price will drop off a bit for the end customer. Of course the cost of a service agreement, or tech support may not change. And with Dell pushing to get all their systems manufactured overseas (Mexico & China mainly), the cost of these systems can come down a bit more. Though personally I think the prices won't drop as far as they could, otherwise it would dig into the profit margin too much. And like any other company, Dell is in business to make money. It's just too bad for me that the company I work for is closing this location in November due to Dell pushing for overseas manufacturing of their cases and other components. It's been fun to see the new system designs a year or more ahead of the general public. And what's coming down the pipe for next year looks really cool. Just wish Dell would use these new case designs for their "whitebox" systems, and not go back to the boring beige box look of the past.
  • Great all the mediocre parts of oem... with a "i sure hope these guys stay in business for the next year" warrenty. that will be great.

    I suppose I'd **almost recommend dell to my non computer savy relatives (so I don't have to build their computers... and/or provide tech support.) but with this they'd get a kinda crappy oem level computer but wiht god knows what support/warrenty from the white box reseller.

    dosn't sound too good to me.
  • It's odd how so often a business that succeeds by breaking the mold will eventually form itself almost perfectly to that same mold.

    Dell start by selling cheap, quality, configurable machines direct to customers providing value and quality of service. The big boys were selling through retil channels with all the supply lag, cost increases, etc... that entails.

    Now that Dell IS the big boys they start selling this way because there is more money to be made quickly. Its easier to make $100 selling a pallet of non-configurables to wal-mart than selling a pallet of individually specced machines to SMEs.

    Take almost any innovative company and this will happen. So... the question is... who are stepping into Dells shoes?
    • but I think back then, margin per pc was pretty good, the problem we are seeing today is the commodize (sp) of PC hardware (and PC itself) here are stuff that's been thin on margin:

      -Hard Drive
      -Ethernet/Modem
      -Soundcard
      -CD Writer/DVD Drive
      -Motherboard

      The only thing that's in the pc that still has a high profit margin is probably the gfx card, bu that might change soon.

      It's sad really, but I think we will be seeing one of the 1st tier OEMs going out of business due to increase price pressure
  • Whats in a name? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TeddyR ( 4176 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @02:34AM (#4109963) Homepage Journal
    My guess is that they can sell it cheaper as a no name item since they do not have to handle:

    1) Tech Support. This includes web/phone/email etc.
    2) Advertising [this alone would be around %3-%5 of a machines cost AT LEAST...
    3) R&D wrt design and "dell" labeled cds/manuals/etc... [they dont have to reprint the OEM manual with their own logo] and still use essentially the same parts.
    4) This could also be a way to get around certain restrictive licensing agreements that Dell has... [ie: if the machine has the name "Dell" on it they may have to pay some company something to license something else.. weather its software/bios/whatever]

    All the above could EASILY make a PC %20-%30 cheaper for the end user...

  • Me and Dell (Score:5, Informative)

    by Quill_28 ( 553921 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @06:44AM (#4110465) Journal
    What ever you do don't go through Dell Financial Services. My experience with them was so bad that I will gladly waste karma and time to tell people.

    Some things:

    1. I received a rude bill for $.05(no kidding)
    2. I was called numerous time after I paid off my entire bill saying I better pay or they would report me.
    3. One time I received a call asking me if I had the decency to return their calls.(After I already had)
    4. If you paid more than the monthly bill it would screw everything up on their end.
    5. Can't pay a bill on their web site, and they make it nearly impossible to pay over the phone.

    They are so bad I almost think they do it on purpose to squeeze out more money from "customers".

    If anyone has any info I would like to hear it.
    • That sounds strangely like some interactions I once had with Fleet bank. The weird part was that they were wanting to talk with someone named Wendy - and I'm certainly not Wendy. They wouldn't believe me when I told them I didn't know who Wendy was (the phone line was new). I did have a Fleet bank credit card in my wallet though, and I called them up, gave them an earful, and cancelled the card.

      I know how you feel. I am also willing to burn my Karm with an offtopic post, just to tell everyone out there that Fleet bank really really sucks.

  • tax people tax (Score:2, Interesting)

    by io333 ( 574963 )
    ...seems to me that I always recommend Dell over Gateway to folks (unless they want *me* to build them a custom pc) because even though the boxes are more or less equivalent, and because even though you have to pay shipping on either box, the Dell always comes out a bit cheaper as Dell has no retail stores and hense no sales tax is paid by the purchaser.

    Here in Louisiana, the sales tax is almost 10%, which is a pretty hefty chunk of change on a $2000 computer.

    I think Dell realizes this, and yet it still wants to be able to go after the same local markets that a Gateway store more or less owns around here. This is a way for them to get at that without taking away the sales tax advantage from their mail order business.
  • I've got a small, struggling business, and 100% of my customer base is small businesses with less than 20 employees. So I am definitely in the demo that Dell is targeting with this new "white box" initiative.

    You know what? It won't help my business at all. Customers who buy white boxes are only looking for one thing: a low price. They don't care about brands. Most don't understand the hardware specifications well enough to discern any differences between a Celeron, PIII, P4 or AMD. As long as it runs Word, Quickbooks and lets them surf the Net, they are more than satisified.

    The $499 price is not going to make me nor my customers sit up a take notice because I can still get comparable computers for $100 to $150 less than that. If my customers wanted a Dell, then they'd get one. Brands don't matter to my customers. They are too busy trying to keep the doors open, and a "generic" Dell computer priced at $500 is not what they are looking for.

  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @08:15AM (#4110826)
    "The Boston Globe reports that Dell, which has heretofore sold only through its website, direct to consumers"

    This is incorrect. Dell did experiment with selling their PCs through retailers. I know, because in around 1991, I bought a Dell 486/50 from CompUSA.
  • by bsdbigot ( 186157 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @09:14AM (#4111203) Journal
    I remember the first time I saw a Dell computer. Being from Austin, I took a tour of the Dell facilities when I was in high school, and even met Michael Dell. That was in 1990? 1991? But the first one I saw for sale was in a department store in Toulon, France in 1993 or 1994. I probably would not have taken note if I hadn't been on the tour...
  • Why would a reseller pay $499 for a basic Celeron box with no monitor? They can easily build it with brand-name industry standard components for under half that amount (add $80 or so for XP).

Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.

Working...