The Channel Insider: Dell is no Apple

“Instead of investing in the channel, the area most likely to produce sales growth, the vendor is trying to be Apple. The problem is Apple is cool and Dell isn’t,” Pedro Pereira writes for The Channel Insider. “PC maker Dell’s decision to open two inventory-less retail stores this summer… makes me wonder how many potential customers will be walking into the Dell stores at shopping malls in West Nyack, N.Y., and Dallas expecting to leave with a new laptop under their arm… I don’t know about you, but unless I am buying furniture, I expect to walk out of a store with my purchase.”

“Instead of investing in the area most likely to produce the results Dell needs—sales growth—the vendor is trying to be Apple. The problem is Apple is cool and Dell isn’t. In fact, there hasn’t been anything ‘cool’ about the vendor since “Steven, the Dell dude” vanished from our TV screens a few years ago,” Pereira writes. “Apple is image; it’s attitude. Using a MacBook at your neighborhood café says something about your nonconformist view of the world. But if you pull a Dell out of your bag, the only message you’re sending is that you presumably got a decent deal when you bought it.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Using a MacBook at your neighborhood café says also says that you probably have used both Windows and Mac OS X, compared the two, and actually made an informed choice. If we see you, we’ll wave. You know why. It not just about “cool,” it’s really about “better.”

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Related articles:
Will Dell’s retail computer stores work sans inventory? – May 30, 2006
Dell to open retail stores – May 22, 2006


  1. gonzo wrote: “The computer is a tool; not jewelry to impress your friends. I can write just as good an e-mail in Windows as OSX, same with using Photoshop and every other program – it does not matter which OS I use, I am the creative one; not the OS.”

    Actually, a guy in my lab and I are giving presentations on Friday and we were going to send out a very similar email at the same time (we thought it would be funny – may or may not be, but that is not the point). Anyway, we wrote them and clicked send at the same time, me on my Mac and him on his Windows machine. Well, after I said “click,” he screamed: “What?” His computer said: “Unexpected error.” It took him 5 minutes to figure it out and then finally got the email sent.

    This doesn’t happen very often, but our plan was foiled because of an unexpected error on Windows’/Outlook’s part. So, at least in this one incredibly specific example, it may not actually be as easy to send email from a Windows machine….

  2. Geees, if I took my 17″ PowerBook to a coffee shop my wife would kill me. We go there to drink coffee and engage in social intercourse with each oter and friends, not stare at a computer screen.

    Take your laptop to an Apple store not the coffee shop!


  3. RAy Lane – I have both macs and pcs – never had the situation you have on my pcs. They run as many programs as the macs at one time and I find things work a little faster using the peecees. My peecees never crash. running windowxs xp.
    (and if this happens all the time,why do you use pcs???)

    tip to quevar – tell your friend not to use windows ie or outlook. i use firefox and thunderbird on my peecees and never have any problems.

  4. Gateway showed how profitable the in-store online sales approached works. I expect Dell to start loading the stores with some entry level systems and notebooks, plus flat screen TVs before Christmas – with a bit of spare RAM under the counter.

    I also have trouble seeing Dell match the Apple Genius Bar – far too many customers with problems to spend money on that one.

    Two years at the most and the stores will be gone.

  5. Does it need to be stated yet again? Dell needs to avoid making the mistakes that nearly destroyed Gateway – and having stock on hand was not one of their ‘mistakes’.

    Gateway got out of the Retail Outlet business while it still had a business.
    Tandy got out of the PC business to concentrate on its retail outlets.

    Apple made it work. Maybe because Apple put the stores out there as part of its advertising/marketing effort rather than as part of its ‘sales force’. Maybe because Apple products depend, in part, on COOL to help sell them – and ‘cool’ doesn’t translate that well via printed page or web site. By the same token, ‘low cost’ translates VERY well via a web site – and constant price shifts are better on the web than the outlet.

    Please don’t tell Dell of the potential dangers in their plans. They might come to their senses and back away before they take too big a hit.

  6. gonzo –

    “Apple owners are all paranoid about their appearance to others- hence they buy computers and ipods more often to have the latest thing…”

    Actually, Mac users keep their Macs longer than PC users keep their PCs – because they can. Even with the CPU and OS transitions, Apple’s done a superb job with backward compatibility. There are a lot of 7-year-old G4 towers and G3 iMacs in homes and pro graphics shops running OS X and the latest apps. Old Macs don’t get replaced – they just get repurposed or handed down to the next generation.

  7. Is it Gonzo or Bonzo? While I do 6 illustrations on my Mac with everything working seamlessly so that I hardly notice the computer at all, my GF just got home to tell me her laptop won’t recognise her flash drive and that her work pc has yet more viruses, but hey she’s gonna pay a guy to come in and sort that, well at least till the next time. Meanwhile she heard today her friend has had all her work moved to a folder with some dodgy east european blackmailing her before he will give up the code to release it. But not all’s lost she thinks she may be ble to pay a company to break the code for her without resorting to the money laudering. Some people really just don’t get it.

    Believe it or not this is all true.

  8. “Apple owners are all paranoid about their appearance to others- hence they buy computers and ipods more often to have the latest thing…”

    Holy crap that’s silly. It’s the software stupid. Me? 2002 PowerMac G4 dual 867, 1gb, 160gb, Tiger. Runs like a champ, boots up in about 10 seconds. Does everything I need it to.

  9. spyinthesky – sounds like a personal problem.
    never a virus on either my mac or pc ever.
    Repeat – never a virus.

    spyinthesky – tell your friends to avoid computers at all costs. buy your gf an apple for her birthday.

    meanwhile of every 100 computers sold today only 3 will be Apple computers.
    i like my mac i use daily and my peecees – people are just sooooooo hung up on which computer they own.

    Majikthize: “Actually, Mac users keep their Macs longer than PC users keep their PCs”
    You have no proof of this. Statistics of web use show time after time that there are more people surfing the web running Windows 95 than all total mac users combined. Windows 95 – 10 years old and people still use it for what they need.

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