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Dell Protests 'Not Wintel's Lapdog' 449

An anonymous reader writes "C|Net is reporting on a protestation by Dell's CTO, Kevin Kettler, who says quite loudly that they are not Microsoft and Intel's puppet." From the article: "Essentially, Kettler argued, Dell was responsible for selecting, if not necessarily developing, many of the technologies in today's desktop computers and servers. Among standards for which he said Dell deserves credit are 802.11 wireless networking, PCI Express communications technology and 64-bit extensions to Intel's x86 line of processors."
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Dell Protests 'Not Wintel's Lapdog'

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  • Uhhhh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by LinuxGeek ( 6139 ) * <djand DOT nc AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:27PM (#15101857)
    Isn't this like Pinocchio claiming that he isn't Geppetto's puppet?
    • Dell to Intel:

      I get a lot of money for you, and that makes you MY bitch.
    • Re:Uhhhh.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by heatdeath ( 217147 )
      Isn't this like Pinocchio claiming that he isn't Geppetto's puppet?

      Not at the end of the story. Pinocchio ended up being a real boy. :-)

      I don't see much of a future for dell ever becoming a real boy.
    • www.dell.ca (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BigBlockMopar ( 191202 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:40PM (#15101956) Homepage

      Isn't this like Pinocchio claiming that he isn't Geppetto's puppet?

      I want a new computer.

      On www.dell.ca, I selected a Dimension 3100 - it's all that I need in a general purpose PC. I clicked on the "Customize it!" button. And it seems that I can't get it without Windows. [dell.com] (Not sure if that link will work, it set a few cookies in Firefox.) Furthermore, I have serious issues with any technology company sufficiently ignorant to run IIS.

      Though I've always liked Dell hardware, Pinocchio gets no sale from me.

      • Re:www.dell.ca (Score:3, Informative)

        by dekemoose ( 699264 )
        Search for Dell N Series
        • Re:www.dell.ca (Score:3, Insightful)

          Search for Dell N Series

          Chose Home and Small Business machines on dell.ca. It wasn't on either. As a purchaser with many options, I won't go through hoops to buy what you obviously don't want to tell me that you offer. I'll just go elsewhere, with the hope that a company more interested in my sale will also be more interested in providing me with a quality product.

    • Re:Uhhhh.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JordanL ( 886154 )
      Best quote ever:

      "Microsoft may bitch, Intel may bitch," but the customers want Blu-ray, and that's what matters to the PC maker, Kettler said.

      At least he had something right, eh?
    • by jspoon ( 585173 )
      I've got no strings
      To hold me down
      To make me fret, or make me frown
      I had strings
      But now I'm free
      There are no strings on me

      -Michael Dell
    • I think he is more of saying "We are the Wal*Mart of Computers". I think he has a good point to, they have push and power over their suppliers (the same way Wal*Mart is able to bend suppliers to Wal*Mart's needs).
  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corrosive_nf ( 744601 ) <corrosive23@gmail.com> on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:29PM (#15101870)
    He's taking credit for 64 bit extensions. Uh didnt AMD do that, NOT Intel, and therefore NOT Dell?
    • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

      And also, just because you sell more computers than anyone else doesnt mean you were responsible for adoption of a standard. When dell begins to sell AMD will they claim responsibility for AMD?
      If anything apple is responsible for wireless. They had it standard before anyone else did.
    • Well, in some way we can say he's right. Note that he sayd specifically about promoting 64-bit extensions for Intel processors, not 64-bits in general. Essentially it was Dell who made for Intel big numbers of 64-bit chips sold possible.
      • I'm pretty sure that's a bunch of crap. Statistically, no one is buying AMD chips because they're 64 bit outside of cluster use and maybe some Linux servers. Intel just had to go 64 bit because AMD did, not because anyone actually wanted it - especially not the type of people who buy Dell.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ottffssent ( 18387 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:21PM (#15102237)

      Please read before you post. You don't even need to read the article: the submittor ripped off the relevant article text for the summary.

      Dell's not taking credit for 64-bit ISA extensions to x86. They're taking credit for forcing Intel to add them to their Pentium and Xeon lines rather than reserve 64 bit goodness for the doomed Itanium line. The point is that, rather than mutely accept the scraps Microsoft and Intel throw their way, Dell has the clout and the will to push Intel around.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:32PM (#15102301) Homepage
      He specifically said Intel 64-bit x86 extensions, and that's absolutely true. Intel had 64-bit x86 extensions in the works for a long time, even longer than AMD, but did not want to release them. Why? One word: Itanium. Intel was fully aware that the main differentiating feature of Itanium versus Xeon was that Itanium was 64-bit, and that adding 64-bit extensions to Xeon with the commensurate promise of full compatability and performance for their 32-bit apps would kill off the already anemic Itanium sales.

      When AMD released their 64-bit parts, Intel didn't respond and let AMD take the technology leadership position in the x86 market, in the name of preserving Itanium. Opteron started doing very well in the server market, though, and Dell's server division was getting knocked around. Their customers wanted 64-bit, and they vastly preferred an x86 chip to do it. "Why can't we have a 64-bit x86 chip?" they were saying, either directly to Dell or indirectly by buying Opteron-based servers. Thus the pressure Dell put on Intel to come out with x86-64, which they surely knew Intel was holding in their back pocket. I imagine an ultimatum to release a 64-bit Xeon or Dell would start selling Opterons is what did it.

      People understimate the pressure Dell can apply to Intel. Sure, Dell really needs Intel and definitely benefits from preferential pricing, and thus wants to make Intel happy. On the other hand, Intel needs the world's largest OEM to be pure-Intel, creating a marketshare buffer zone (and commensurate dependable income) to help in their battle with AMD, and thus must keep Dell happy too. A Dell defection would be very bad for Intel, and issues like 64-bit x86 could have forced Dell's hand.
  • 64-bit extensions??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {cornell.edu}> on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:30PM (#15101878) Homepage
    Um, Dell, you don't use AMD chips in any of your products. (I'm not counting Alienware here, since they were purchased long after AMD64 and EM64T came out.) AMD was the first company to release 64-bit extensions to IA32.

    Dell also had nothing to do with IA64, considering Intel's primary partner for that was Dell's competitor HP.
    • by GraZZ ( 9716 ) <jack&jackmaninov,ca> on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:40PM (#15101953) Homepage Journal
      For all the people that haven't read the article, Dell isn't saying they developed 64bit extensions for Intel. What they're saying can be summed up in the following hypothetical dialog:

      Dell Strategist: "This AMD 64 bit thing is really being marketed well, and demand for 64 bits is increasing. You'd better have 64 bit soon or we'll be forced to start selling AMD machines."
      Intel Strategist: "Yikes, ok, ok, we'll get R&D on ripping off*cough* working on a similar solution"
      • Exactly - without Dell suggesting 64 bit extensions be picked up by Intel, I'm not sure if it would have ever happened. Now what I don't understand is why in the hell are 64 bit instructions not present in the new CoreDuo chips that Apple is using? That just blows my mind, Apple went from 64 bit G5s to 32 bit Intel chips. That tells me Apple has no immediate plans to have a x64 bit operating system. If they do, people buying the new CoreDuo chips are SOL.
        • It just goes to show what a bolt-on job intel's 64 bit technology was; they didn't even take the time to push it through their entire product chain (both existing and in the pipeline).
  • 802.11b???? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pfhor ( 40220 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:32PM (#15101888) Homepage
    What about apple and Airport, built into the ibook, released in 1999. I do not believe ANYONE had a builtin 802.11b solution back then, except for apple. (there was 802.11b, just as a pc card).

    In fact, the ibooks were delayed because they had yet to pass FCC testing when they were announced at MacWorld.
    • Re:802.11b???? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @08:07PM (#15102508) Journal
      Don't forget other first-to-market standard features, like gigabit ethernet, bluetooth, USB, 802.11g, and many other features that weren't standard until Apple started pushing them. Dell may not be Intel's lapdog necessarily (debatable), but they certainly aren't the innovators they claim to be.
  • This Just In (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masterpenguin ( 878744 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:33PM (#15101896)
    Apple Exec Claims "We're Not IBM's Lapdog" And they've proven that. If Dell's CTO wants some crediblity on his statement, maybe he should try to make public moves that show it.
  • So I'm not as up on CPUs as I once was, but I am curious about Dell saying that they should get credit for 64-bit extensions to Intel's x86 line of processors. Didn't AMD bring the 64bit game to the Big League level? I thought that Intel were the ones rushing to try and keep up on that front.
  • Awwww. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wellington Grey ( 942717 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:35PM (#15101914) Homepage Journal
    Of course you're not a wittle doggie woggie, are you Kettler whettler? Now who wants a treat? Who wants a treat? Good boy!

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
  • So sad. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Majikk ( 60247 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:35PM (#15101915)
    Delusions of Relevance.
  • 64-Bit (Score:5, Funny)

    by LightningTH ( 151451 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:35PM (#15101916)
    "64-bit extensions to Intel's x86 line of processors", and here all this time I thought Intel ripped AMD's 64-bit spec for x86.
  • Why So Defensive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:35PM (#15101919)
    Dell doesn't really need to be defensive. They do one thing, and they do it really well: Dell builds cheap computers. There's a lot of value there, the quality of their product and support notwithstanding.

    Sure, they don't really do R&D. But they don't need to - they have Intel, Microsoft, Lexmark, and the rest of the OEM partners to do that. They are a gateway to the market, not a market-maker. That's their niche. It's a really big one, and they do it really well. After all, they do make billions a year. And unlike Microsoft, they do it without being a monopoly.

    • Dell doesn't really need to be defensive. They do one thing, and they do it really well: Dell builds cheap computers. There's a lot of value there, the quality of their product and support notwithstanding.

      Quality of their products? I've always found it to be good - sure, ECS motherboards may be one of their OEM suppliers, but they demand better quality control than ECS' own generic boards.

      A big test of the quality of any PC is opening the power supply. In Dells, Compaqs (haven't opened one since the HP m

    • Admitting to anti-competitive practices would get them fined or jailed. I get this picture of Bill Gates patting a small dog on the head. "Good boy, you even fooled some of the Slashdot crowd for me. Have some more Designed for Vista stickers and a biter bone." Dog drools.

      unlike Microsoft, they do it without being a monopoly.

      My state has a sole source contract with Dell. For them, it's a monopoly and it sucks. Your state may have a similar contract. They swore it would save money, choke, gag.


    • Re:Why So Defensive? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This isn't exactly correct. Dell doesn't build cheap computers. The build weak computers with older chipset old technologies with oem parts and proprietary setups. Their bios suck. Their motherboards are weak, underpowered, and often incapable of much expansion.

      Those that contributed to making cheap computer with the power for the future are the likes of gigabyte, abit, asus, etc. Dell makes systems that are purchased for less but costs much more in the long run. Even their high end computers are not
  • Hah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Onan ( 25162 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:36PM (#15101922)

    The ironic part is that Dell has always been very up-front about the fact that they do no research, pioneer no technologies, and create nothing new. Dell is all about execution, not creation: they manufacture devices based upon the technologies of others, deliver them to consumers, and do it with very low overhead.

    Which is a perfectly fine thing for them to do. It's not heroic work, but neither is being a plumber, and we still like to have them around.

    But I have to admit that my respect for any plumber would go down if he started trying to convince me that he's the one that actually discovered the Bernoulli Principle.

  • the x86 64 bit extensions were an AMD invention, this claim is as hilarious as the one that Microsoft invented the internet. Dell was not even selling AMD back then!
    • Dell isn't selling AMD now, either. Do they own Alienware yet? Even if they ware, those aren't Dell branded (yet?) so the statement stands. Regardless you have a reading comprehenshion problem, since they claim they were the driving force behind intel's adoption of x86-64 extensions (although they couldn't manage to use AMD's name for 'em or anything.)
  • You mean AMD's x86 extensions [wikipedia.org]?

    The whole article is very silly; who cares about Dell's market clout -- it seems to be like Apple made a much bigger impact on the tech sector during its dark days -- releasing USB on the legacy-free iMac, a popular 802.11 implementation with non fixed length passwords (LEAP I believe?) .. oh... and uh... the iPod!

  • Why does my Dell Inspiron laptop of three years ago still beats Dell's current offerings? In fact, if I want a better laptop than what I got today for the same price that I paid three years ago, I would have to go with Alienware. I think my next laptop will probably be a dual-booting MacBook.
    • And if you want service even worse than what you get from Dell, by all means, buy that Alienware. Hmm, and if you want service even worse than that, put XP on that MacBook and see what you get back...
  • I once read somewhere, maybe in the Prince or some similar book, that the best way to rule over someone is let them think that they have a choice. Just make sure you take away all the other choices that you don't like first.

    But overall, Dell tends to follow Intel's lead and isn't setting the agenda, said Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans. "They tend to get involved at the point where technology is getting standardized, and they popularize it. They get it out to a lot of people," he said. "But I don't see

  • C|Net is reporting on a protestation by Dell's CTO, Kevin Kettler, who says quite loudly that they are not Microsoft and Intel's puppet.

    I can order that Debian GNU/Linux-preinstalled Dell desktop when?

  • by LOTHAR, of the Hill ( 14645 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:39PM (#15101949)
    Dell is Intel's best customer. Intel bends over backwards seven different ways to keep them happy. Intel will give Dell what they want, or Dell will build AMD systems. There's been several times when rumors of Dell selling AMD based systems. Shortly after that, Dell quashes the rumor and announces a major new partnership with Intel.
  • by wbren ( 682133 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:41PM (#15101970) Homepage
    Among standards for which he said Dell deserves credit are 802.11 wireless networking, PCI Express communications technology and 64-bit extensions to Intel's x86 line of processors.

    The article went on to say Dell deserves credit for developing the Internet, two-button mouse, and sliced bread.
  • Their innovation is inserting cards into sockets, connecting cables, using screwdriver and putting label onto their "product".
  • Anybody rtfa? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SocietyoftheFist ( 316444 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:43PM (#15101982)
    The blurb at the top of the page isn't in context. Dell is saying they pushed Intel to use 802.11b instead of HomeRF, that they asked for 64 bit extensions in their processors and pushed for PCI Express.
    • is that Dell is responsible for what goes into Dell computers?

      If they wanted 802.11 and 64 bit extensions and PCI Express support, but chose to push Intel for those technologies, I suppose that supports their premise - they're not a lapdog, they're a dog that pulls on the leash.

  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:43PM (#15101987)
    "We don't agree on that one, Dick - I'm sure no one here in the stadium does, so let's go up to the booth for a quick moment and see what Zandy, our replay commentator, has to say."

    "Well, Bob, we're seeing the same footage as the refs down on the field, and they seem to be simply making sure they all have the same opinion. Caution is good. Our view was blocked from up here, but on the tape, you can clearly see that Dell never had control of the ball, and there doesn't seem to be anyt...wait... - there's the ruling! No innovation by Dell! The refs are in complete agreement too - back to you Bob!"
  • Risk aversion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erice ( 13380 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:52PM (#15102039) Homepage
    HomeRF (Intel) vs 802.11 (Dell)
    DDR (Dell) vs RAMBUS (Intel)
    Itanium (Intel) vs x64 (Dell)

    Sounds to me like Dell always follows Intel, unless Intel's choice is too risky. The last item is an excelent example. Itanium is risky so Dell wanted nothing of that. On the other hand, using non-Intel processors is risky so Dell just waited until Intel brought out 64bit x86 processors.

    Dell isn't Intel's puppet. Dell is simply run by cowards and, most of the time, Wintel is the safest choice. Dell will follow wherever Intel leads, unless it's out on a limb.

  • by WoTG ( 610710 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:58PM (#15102079) Homepage Journal
    RTFA folks, the Dell guy in the article is not claiming that Dell inventied WiFi, x86-64 or anything like that. They're claiming that by virtue of their throwing their weight behind a technology, they can be the catalyst to make standards actually be useful. In many ways I tend to agree. It's pretty clear to me that Dell has huge sway over Intel these days. Against MSFT? I'm not too sure.
  • "Dell's CTO, Kevin Kettler, who says quite loudly that they are not Microsoft and Intel's puppet."

    Fair enough, then how come I cannot get a dual opteron with ultra320 SCSI and a linux disrto of my choice?
  • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:00PM (#15102093)
    ...but he's talking about those technologies from a business perspective.

    Let's have a look at PCI Express. Early in 2004 it had competition from PCI-X - PCI extended - however, Dell here [dell.com] are discussing the implications of swapping from PCI to PCIe. Now, at the time, PCI-X was seen as an interim measure, but Dell skipped it, instead opting to use PCIe across their desktop range. See, they didn't 'invent' it, but a big company like Dell deciding to run with a specific technology is going to have an impact. No doubt we'll probably see the same with ExpressCard, which seems to be standard on pretty much all Dell laptops released since Fall last year - point me in the direction of another manufacturer who's committed to ExpressCard and not still releasing PC card stuff - HP? Lenovo? Fujitsu? Toshiba?

    Right, 64-bit extensions. Again, they didn't invent it, but I know that they had an instrumental role in convincing Intel (who needs 64-bit computing?) to add EMT 64 extensions to the Xeon range. That might have been partly forced by Dell's customers asking for 64-bit availability, but you cannot deny that with a big player like Dell dumping out 64-bit Xeons, it did give the market a huge kick up the arse - and one that I'm pretty convinced Intel wouldn't have done on their own. Remember, they stubbornly sat on their hands for ages insisting point blank that 64-bit was not the way to go and that if you wanted it, you had to buy Itaniums (*shudder*).

    Wireless? The only evidence I can find that supports this is that Dell were the first company to offer an 802.11b wireless card in a desktop config. I don't for once think that drove any kind of market force as it was an option on the Dimension desktop line, but his points in the article that they stopped Intel marketing that awful HomeRF standard might be justified.

    So it's not really 100% bullshit - the guy has some valid points. Yes Dell has helped promote a couple of standards over the years - USB 2 first appeared on Dells, Centrino laptops first appeared as Dells, they were second (behind Apple) to ship LCDs as standard with PCs. However, they've also bombed in other areas: they still don't have a coherent Mediacenter PC and seem to offer the OS on anything you'd want, and they don't have a tablet option. Now if they could pull their finger out and try to push those down people's throats, we might be getting somewhere.

    So, before you're moronic enough to read bullshit into what he said, sit back and have a think about how a company's size can dictate whether technologies succeed or not, then think about what didn't succeed but could've, like Itanium, HomeRF and PCI-X...
  • by JollyFinn ( 267972 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:01PM (#15102100)
    If Dell says Intel in 2003 that they buy only x86-64 supported chips in 2006, while certain portion earlier. Now Intel has two choices, give dell chip they want or let AMD give dell chip they wan't.

    Also for popularizing pci-express, if DELL says they are phasing out AGP in favour of pci-express in certain time scale, the gfx-card manufacturers are going to listen very carefully, as the chipset vendors too, since they know that if they don't have product that dell wants to buy the other guys will. And by dell making such decision practicly guarantees a reasonable market to go full production of the new interface.

    As far as Blue Ray Disc Vs HD-DVD, if Dell chooces BD, then they will wait until they can get BD in pricepoints that fit the Dell model, and skip the HD-DVD unless the situation becomes such that it's no-brainer to include instead of DVD, and BD would still be too expensive.

    But with Dell committed on one side, that side has big edge on PC:s once the prices come down, if there is competition between formats going on anymore, but don't assume dell stays that way if HD-DVD drive costs 20$ while BD costs 300$ . Dell is still volume manufacturer, but BD will be what they prefer if price difference is reasonable, and that whats will be in many peoples machines when the drive isn't too expensive for dell to put as default option in many of their lines.
  • Woof! Arf! Arf! Whine! Woof!
  • ...he claimed that Dell was also responsible for the adoption of the Internet.
  • Is it me or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lmlloyd ( 867110 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @08:00PM (#15102471)
    It might be just me, but it really seems like /. is becoming less a site for tech news for geeks, and more a site for geek politics. It seems like every day there are fewer and fewer stories about any actual tech, and they are all being replaced with stories about the politics of "geek" culture. I'm not really saying it is a bad thing, but just in my opinion a little boring.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde