Analyst on Dell+Alienware: ‘If you’re going to spend that kind of money, get a Mac’

“Dell may be breaking out of the box. Often criticized for garden-variety PCs that differ little from competing consumer brands, Dell on Mar. 22 said it would buy Alienware, a maker of high-end computers popular among gaming enthusiasts — and anything but ordinary,” Louise Lee reports for BusinessWeek. “Pressure on Dell to break with some longstanding traditions is high. Hewlett-Packard and other competitors have vastly improved product performance and customer service, while Dell’s service ratings are in the doldrums and recent sales have disappointed investors. Dell CEO Kevin Rollins and Chairman Michael Dell are on the hunt for ways to jump-start growth.”

“In September, the PC maker staged a splashy relaunch of its XPS line of desktop and notebooks, which — like Alienware’s machines — are aimed at affluent households and hardcore gamers. Dell said in February that unit volumes of XPS machines rose 20% in the most recent quarter from a year earlier, but didn’t elaborate… A Dell spokesman says despite the Alienware purchase, the company is ‘not backing off its support of XPS,'” Lee reports. “Some analysts, however, don’t see the XPS line, which starts at about $1,000 for a desktop and $2,000 for a notebook, as bringing much benefit to Dell. ‘We don’t think it’s an important driver of growth,’ says Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brent Bracelin. ‘XPS is a low-volume product,’ says Charles Wolf, analyst at Needham & Co. ‘If you’re going to spend that kind of money, get a Mac.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Funny quote, but we must note that Macs are actually less expensive than comparable Dell PCs. And you cannot get Mac OS X or excellent Mac-only apps like the iLife suite on any Dell, no matter how much you pay.

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Related articles:
Dell acquires PC maker Alienware in bid to corner market on gaudy case designs – March 23, 2006
Apple Mac is #1 in European education market, pushes Dell down into second place – February 03, 2006
Financial Times: Dell and Microsoft can never hope to attain Apple’s Mac aura – January 10, 2006
Struggling Dell has lost its mojo while Apple shows rapid growth – November 07, 2005
Dell goes after Apple’s high-end Mac market with ‘XPS brand’ desktop and laptop ‘luxury’ Windows PCs – September 28, 2005
Apple continues to lead in customer satisfaction, Dell loses more ground – August 16, 2005
Michael Dell say’s he’d be happy to sell Apple’s Mac OS X if Steve Jobs decides to license – June 16, 2005
Why buy a Dell when Apple ‘Macintel’ computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005
Apple Macs are less expensive than Dell PCs – April 24, 2005
Apple Macs are less expensive, more secure, longer-lasting than Windows PCs – April 21, 2005


  1. And you can’t get the latest games for OS X, no matter how much you pay.

    Dell and alienware sucks though, why do they have to be so damn ugly? Could be that we are spoiled with Apple’s design.

  2. Dell thinks they can answer the $399 MS X-box with highend PC gaming systems? Ha ha ha ha ha ha…….

    Whoa this is really bad news for Alienware fans, their highend investment just turned into a p.o.s. generic Dell offering.

    Oh and the Dell acquisition is just in time for the DELAYED VISTA announcement!

    It does not get much better than this for Mac fans, now if Apple would only advertise their feature set….

  3. I was at the mall yesterday. I went to Apple store and then I went to a Dell kiosk at the same mall and a Dell computer has never looked so ugly in my life. Actually they were BUTT ugly. Why would someone want that piece of crap on a desk is beyond me.

    Alienware looks like a futuristic computer designed in the 70s but I guess people looking for the cheapest thing would go for a Dell+Alienware.

    Who is next to be acquired? My money is on Gateway.

  4. I find it interesting that the article makes it sound like Dell is going to change the way they do things, like buying Alienware is going to make their boxes exciting or something. Alienware will continue to be a separate company – Dell just owns them. They are not going to incorporate Alienware designs into their dull boxes.

    I think it’s great that Alienware exists. I think it’s fantastic that someone out there has enough money to spend thousands to play games. It’s a boon to our economy!

  5. I owned two Alienware PCs when they were first in business SEVERAL years ago, this was far before they redesigned the cases and made them cool looking (which was one of my many suggestions). I had problems with them, video cards came loose and minor glitches like that.

    I’m sure the quality has greatly improved but overall it was just an expensive toy and I switched to Mac from there.. However, I bet quality takes a hit when Dell takes over!! I wonder how much Alienware got for the sale…

    Christopher Powers

  6. Yes, for a compareably equipped computer, a Mac will cost about the same as a Dell. But, there is an entire market that wants a cheap computer. Apple does not have anything in that range. No, the Mac Mini does not qualify – add a cheap display, keyboard, and mouse, and it will still cost upwards of $800. You can get a cheap computer from dell with all the hardware you need for $400. I agree it won’t have the best OS or software, but it will get you by. From this perspective, yes, Macs are expensive. They have no cheap entry. Dell sells computers that are cheaper than a Mac. Go price the cheapest computer from each and see what you can find.

    It is more expensive to get a Mac than a Windows PC. Where can I go to get a Mac with all the needed hardware for $400? You can’t, but you can with a PC. I have friends who want to try out a Mac, but can’t afford to get one, so they keep on using their cheap Dell, which works for them. This is a fundamental problem with Apple that is severely going to limit their growth.

  7. The problem with non-apple PC manufacturers, to me, is that their idea of design is to basically just add plastic and maybe neon of some kind to your existing PC tower design. I’m suprised they don’t have fins and go faster stripes. Apple aren’t afraid to start from scratch and make an entirely new form factor. You may not like a particular design or apple’s aesthetics in general but at least they try something different.

  8. Dell is producing dodgy growth rates and analysts don’t like it. Buying Alienware adds a frisson of excitement, but will do little else. Fantastic that there is any demand at all for such rubbish.

  9. I have to admit that I am dismayed by this. Even though I use a Mac, I always liked the Alienware machines. They seemed like they were a good setup for games and they were always built with that in mind.
    I was tempted to get one, except that I did NOT want to deal with Windows for games and went with a PS2. I had a picture in my head of trying to get the newest game to work; and there I would be trying to figure out the IRQ settings. Not to mention all of the detritus that just comes naturally to the Windows Registry. Man that thing just soaks up everything. Unlike Windows the PS2 just worked.
    But I guess this is a smart move for the Alienware people. They saw the writing on the wall. They knew that eventually people will not pay 2 grand for a gaming machine, when a PS3 and the XBOX 360 smokes the PC and does not have the problems associated with Windows and at a much cheaper price.

    MDN word: Federal, As in its a federal crime that dell bought alienware

  10. So how come Apple gets the need for a cheap entry-level model for the iPod line (i.e., $69 Shuffle) but doesn’t get it for computers? A computer comparable to the entry-level shuffle would be $400 INCLUDING keyboard, mouse and display. So what if it’s not even as good as a mini? It would be a lot better than a $400 Dell! Even a model at $500, all in, would make a BIG difference. That, and a mid-range, expandable tower at $999 for business/government (BYOKDM).

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