These are dark days for Dell. The company lost its top spot in the global PC market to archrival Hewlett-Packard in 2006 and then lost the second-place slot to Acer in 2009. As the computing market has moved toward smaller, more portable devices such as netbooks, smartphones, and tablets, Dell has struggled to keep pace. The company has continued to do pretty well with enterprises, but enterprises have not been buying many desktops in recent years.
Now, there's new evidence coming to light from a three year old court case that claims Dell knowingly sold millions of faulty computers to enterprises from 2003 to 2005, and then had an organized campaign to cover it up and deceive customers about the problems. You can read more about the case here:
- Suit Over Faulty Computers Highlights Dell's Decline (The New York Times)
- Dell lawsuit: Pattern of deceit (ZDNet)
We have to remember that we haven't really heard Dell's side of the story yet. And, there are those who will say that while the quality of Dell's PCs have gone done, so have nearly all of the other PC makers as well, especially as consumers and businesses have come to expect sub-$500 computers.
That said, I know one medium-sized enterprise that reported a nearly 50% failure rate for Dell laptops in the mid-2000s. That was nearly twice as high as both the company's previous provider, Compaq/Hewlett-Packard, as well as Lenovo, the vendor that they used to replace the Dell machines.
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Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).