Irony of ironies
Wouldn't the irony of ironies have to be that the ironies weren't ironic?
IBM has its On Demand, we'll-service-the-hell-out-of-you thing. HP has its Business Technology, we'll-ink-the-hell-out-of-you thing. Sun Microsystems has its Participation Age, red-shifting, we'll-network-the-hell-out-of-you thing. And now Dell has the we're-tired-of-direct-modeling-the-hell-out-of-you Dell 2.0. Whereas the …
Is VISTA itself. I looked at a few of the cheaper desktops and notebooks, and saw something REALLY NICE: Dell allows the buyer to choose Windows XP, instead of Vista, at no increase in cost. On these cheaper computers (with lower power CPUs and less memory), it's a far better choice.
I'll pretend to have no idea why competitors, such as HP-Compaq and Gateway-Emachines, won't do this. The lower-income people I work for can't afford to get a "Vista" computer with enough memory and CPU power to run decently. Even more important, lots of their old games don't work on Vista.... and replacing all those games with Vista compatible versions, even if were possible, is way too costly for them.
I've been unable to recommend a NEW computer from any of these mgrs since February, when the last XP computers "with Upgrade CDs shipped later" were sold. I don't know (yet) whether modern Dell machines use standard power supplies, but if they do, I'm gonna HAVE TO start recommending them.
VIsta's DRM, incompatibilities with older games, and humongous requirements for memory and CPU power really make it a nonstarter for people like these. Dell has made a BIG changed the OEM and retail marketplace by offering the choice of XP again, and I hope that others follow.
If dell wants to reinvent it's image, I have a few suggestions for them.
Don't go about removing the ability to troubleshoot by getting rid of diagnostic tools on the new products.
Charge *less* than 500 dollars to replace somebodies LCD screen on the notebooks.
Stop using nasty lock-in that requires customers to buy Power supplies, motherboards, *power cords* , and batteries from Dell.
Don't charge schools more than you do people off the street for the same machine.
Get rid of salespeople who pressure customers into spending more than their computer is worth on warranties.
-A disgruntled Dell employee.
Since about March I've been recommending Dell laptops because one can still get 'em with XP - the only other option is an entry-level HP machine with only one memory slot. We used to source a ton of Acer machines but until Vista is more mature they've lost us as a customer.
Due to the ever-changing prices, crudware, and the swingeingly expensive Dell accessories (£14 USB cable, anyone?) buying Dells has been a last resort.
Apart from the continued availability of XP, the other good thing with Dell has been their willingness to ship us XP Pro recovery CDs for machines supplied with Vista Business. Microsoft are allowing Vista Business customers to temporarily downgrade to XP Pro. Normally one would have to activate the XP Pro using the license key of a validly purchased XP Pro machine... but going the Tier 1 recovery CD route means that the software is BIOS-locked and there are no activation hassles.
To be customer friendly. The problem I have is that companies like Dell, HP, PC World et al, while talking about going up against each other still hold each other together. There isn't a totally transparent basic user supplier out there, which means customers are always going to be overcharged for warranties and forced into buying custom made parts. It's great that a person with no PC knowledge can go out and buy a ready made PC, with all the software they will need. What's not great is that they're overcharged for it, and conned into paying for warranties that they don't need.
My parents had a terrible experience with a PC World warranty (bless them, but they wouldn't listen) and ended up getting 2k worth of vouchers for a new PC.
All I want is a company that is easy to buy fully made PCs, with the ability to customise them, that sells them at a decent price, and doesn't force me into using their products for the lifetime of the PC.