Mystery score

Mystery score

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Missed by That Much

In January, 2003, I bought a Dell desktop computer. Seven years later, it is still running, a real workhorse. It's a pretty slow workhorse, though, and it's possible I will replace it in the next year or so, if adding some memory doesn't make a difference.

But I probably won't buy another Dell. There's a horrifying story in today's Times about a two-year period during which it appears Dell knowingly shipped defective computers and then blamed its customers when the computers broke down, claiming the computers were in overheated spaces or, amazingly, that the customers were overtaxing the computers with too many computations. Besides breaking down, the defective machines could have burst into flame.

You bet that they are getting their asses sued, and it seems there might be charges filed eventually against Michael Dell. My favorite line in the story is this:
Even the firm defending Dell in the lawsuit was affected when Dell balked at fixing 1,000 suspect computers, according to e-mail messages revealed in the dispute.
Maybe they need to join the lawsuit they're defending against.

The two-year period during which the defective computers were sold ran from May 2003 through July 2005. I missed it by that much! And I see no reason to give my future business to a company that behaved so unethically.

12 comments:

A.C. Douglas said...

You just missed it, I got caught right in the middle of it.

Dell Dimension Desktop
Born: April, 2004
Died: December 2009
Cause of Death: Leaking capacitor.

ACD

Joe Barron said...

My Dell is 10 years old, and still working well, but I vowed pretty early on I would never do business with the company again.

Paul Muller said...

Have had a Toshiba laptop - 2 GHz processor, 2 GBytes RAM, 200 GByte HD - running Windows 7. This is a really sweet machine. Runs fast, instantly on-line with WiFi and has 3 USB ports. We paid less than $500 for it in March.

Windows 7 is a BIG improvement over Vista.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Gah!

Is there a class-action lawsuit?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Vista is one of the reasons I have held on to this machine for so long.

But I can't work at a laptop for ergonomic reasons - my work machine is used with an external monitor, mouse, etc. My next home computer will probably be a Macintosh.

A.C. Douglas said...

There may exist a class action pending, but I wouldn't join it in any case.

The problem Dell got embroiled in is the sort of thing that happens when a founder relinquishes control of and participation in his hugely successful company, and puts it into the hands of money-grubbing suits who view that company only as a money-making machine.

Well, Michael Dell is now back running the company again, and it shows. The new Dell 64-bit Windows 7 Studio laptop I bought to replace the Dell Dimension (which laptop model had a major problem having to do with a faulty BIOS, not faulty hardware, and which, without fuss or demur, was replaced by Dell with a new machine, not once but twice, and at no cost to me) is quite beautiful, works flawlessly, and is less expensive than a similarly equipped laptop by the only other player, HP, by some 30%.

ACD

Lisa Hirsch said...

Here's a bit from the Times story I linked to above:

"Dell has tried to put those problems behind it. In 2005, it announced it was taking a $300 million charge related, in part, to fixing and replacing the troubled computers. Dell set aside $100 million this month to handle a potential settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a five-year-old investigation into its books, which will most likely result in federal accusations of fraud and misconduct against the company’s founder, Michael S. Dell."

A.C. Douglas said...

Lisa: That's a different issue altogether. Michael Dell is no different than other heads of multi-national corporations in that respect. Every single one of them has been involved in financial shenanigans that are either outright or borderline illegal. It's part of the process of becoming a multi-national. The ones we haven't heard about are simply the ones who haven't yet been caught at it.

Joe Barron: How come?

ACD

Lisa Hirsch said...

While I think enforcement of financial regulations is sorely lax, I also don't believe that ever head of a multinational is involved in outright or borderline illegal transactions. Of course, "borderline" could mean a lot of things.

A.C. Douglas said...

Well, I won't insist on the point even though I'm quite convinced of its validity having had dealings with the executive suite of such companies. And in any case, it doesn't impinge on the subject to hand (the quality of Dell's machines), so that SEC business with Michael Dell doesn't really concern me one way or the other.

BTW, if you want to buy a laptop, laptops today (Dell's at least) can easily accommodate an external mouse and monitor. I use an external mouse all the time with my laptop (a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer - both wired and wireless types).

Just FYI.

ACD

Lisa Hirsch said...

I've watched my partner go through 2.5 laptops in the time I've had my Dell desktop machine. Laptops are designed to disintegrate within a few years and are just not something I'll spent money on.

Paul Muller said...

I still have an old Toshiba laptop, ca 2000, 233 MHz processor, 128 MBytes RAM and a whole 5 GB in the hard drive. Just put Linux on it and it has new life as a backup in case my PCs get some dread virus. Point is, the hardware still functions nicely. Battery life is dismal, of course, but I'm gonna keep it around.