NY Times: Dell’s exploding laptop and other image problems

“A Dell notebook computer that burst into flames last month in Osaka, Japan, has damaged more than just the conference table where it sat smoldering. The incident, publicized in photos on the Internet, has also hurt Dell’s recent attempts to improve its image,” Damon Darlin reports for The New York Times.

“A photo of the burning notebook computer from the Inquirer’s Web site. For a company with earlier public relations issues, the wide publicity generated proved harmful,” Darlin reports.

“The company said the incident got more publicity than such incidents usually do when they happen to other manufacturers. In part, that is because Dell’s reputation for responsive customer service was already under attack after the company, the world’s largest PC manufacturer, started to cut costs at its call centers last year. Dell, reacting to the savaging it has received on blogs and Web sites over the cuts, recently responded with a program to spend more than $100 million to improve service,” Darlin reports.

Darlin reports, “Two days later, Cindy Shaw, a securities analyst with Moors & Cabot, notified her clients about the publicity. Last Thursday, citing reports of a second smoking laptop, this one in Pennsylvania, she advised them that ‘should this story also hit the mainstream press, we believe there is headline risk and potentially negative demand ramifications for Dell.’ Bob Pearson, vice president for corporate group communications at Dell, called Ms. Shaw’s reaction ‘somewhat irresponsible.’ Ms. Shaw said neither she nor her firm had made any financial bets that the company’s stock would fall. She does, however, recommend that clients sell the shares.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Does The New York Times count as ‘mainstream press?” wink What would we do if we were in charge of Dell? We’re so glad you asked: We’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.

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18 Comments

  1. Nice job Jimbo.

    Nevermind the fact that it’s Dell, am I the only one who sees the humor in the NY Times reporting on the damaged reputation of another company.

    Birds of a feather are flocking outside.

  2. The point about Dell suffering over this is that it comes on top of a run of bad news…the negative spiral at work.

    Conversely Apple is on a massive positive spiral and an exploding Mac would simply not have the same impact!

  3. ^ Come onnnn, “Andy”. I know it’s you! I know it’s you, Richter. You can’t hide your failed career behind a phony last name with a “C”.

    Talk about things going up in flames! Leaving Conan was de biggest mistake since Thomas Andrews went with de lowest bidder for de steel in de Titanic. Yeh-heh-hehessssss . . . it’s a good thing you came back to Conan to help produce your next show. Maybe this one won’t flop harder than Star Jones’ shaved-off saddlebags. And what a clever name, by de way: Andy Barker P.I.”! Did you have de Dell marketing brain trust help you with that gem?

    Look, Andy — I think you and Dell would be a good fit. You could be their new spokesman. Yeh-heh-hehessssss . . .

    Two burned out reputations for de price of one.

  4. From Andy C.’s article link:

    “Nick has become wary of computers after seeing his first laptop flame up, she said.”

    It’s clear that this mother is just talking up the damage to get lawyers interested… obviously any normal 11 year old boy would think it extremely cool that his laptop had burst into a ball of fire, and want several more that could do the same thing.

  5. Ryan. Yes, I’m sure the prospect of getting 2nd and 3rd degree burns is “extremely cool” to an 11 year old boy. If something you have exploded into flames, it might make you someone wary of the supposed safety of your computer.

  6. I have owned 2 Dell notebooks (courtesy of IT at my former company) and combined they are not worth half of my G4 iBook.

    In summary Dell machines are CHEAP pieces of s……t not to mention butt ugly!!!

  7. How long will it take for Homeland Security to disalow Dell laptops on ALL flights?

    Seriously, are they going to wait until some airliner goes up in flames?

    Apple needs to run an anti-Dell, MacBook ad with some flames painted on their laptop. And state that “Our flames are simply cosmetic”.

  8. Dell is dying!!! Hurray!!!

    It always happens went you shoot for market share.

    1: You lower the price and thus the quality of your machines.

    2: You advertise like crazy hoping the increased exposure will net you more profit later.

    3: You eliminate R&D because there is no money.

    4: You start to cut back on after market support and other things that keep good customers returning.

    5: Your brand name gets worn out and you get a bad rep for using inferior exploding products.

    Hey Dell! Your going the way of IBM, Compaq, E-Machines and Gateway. Another dying PC vendor and yet Apple still REMAINS!!!

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