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Competition for Dell; Amd based possible?

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February 25, 2006 10:56:08 PM

Just looking for opinions here a few friends and I we're recently talking about Dell computers. The consensus was basically that none of us liked Dell computers. Most of their products are stripped down bare bones systems, basically not much bang for the buck. Even HP offers the average computer user much more for their money. Many HP computers come with two optical drives, card readers, etc. So my question is this could an Amd based computer maker go head to head with Dell? While Dell basically owns a most of it's suppy chain. Is it possible for someone to start a computer company and compete directly with Dell? Yes their are companies such as Alienware, Gateway, Hp, etc. Is their room for one more giant computer company? Thanks for taking the time to read this post and all opinions are appreciated.
February 26, 2006 11:37:54 PM

i will start an amd only company and beat the crap out of dell my comps will come with bats so you could use it to beat the crap out of your old dell :lol:  and when your done send back the bat for your deposit
March 2, 2006 9:51:30 PM

your topic isnt technical in nature, it's business oriented. i'm a math major, not a business major, but i have an accounting minor so i know some of the business aspects, especially with money, etc.

from my knowledge of PCs, i can say without hesitation that an AMD based system would technically be a better bargain for the same money as an Intel based system (that is, keep everything the same except mobo-cpu-ram, and for the same money the AMD system will perform better).

good, so, you can build better computers. Dell is the #1 seller. they have an immense quantity of sales. it's great that you can build yourself a better one, but working alone you could probably only build about 40 computers/wk, assuming nothing goes terribly wrong with a build. the point here is that for you to start a company that does this is hard, look at your local computer shops. would you buy a computer from them or Dell if you knew little about computers? if you knew enough to go to the local computer shop, would you feel confident enough to build it yourself? the number of people interested in local shop built PCs is small.

what is more relevant is if HP has the capability to outsell Dell. they're an established name, they have many builders on the payroll, they have warehouses, factories, etc. they need more marketing. it needs to get into people's heads that your 1st stop PC purchasing location isn't dell.com. that's tough. luckily Dell doesn't have floor space in Best Buy and Circuit City.

i think if you look at Dell's sales, you'll find that it's not a PC here, a PC there, it's 1000 PCs to this company, 1000 to this college, etc. HP would need contracts with big powerful corporations, and large universities. my college has a contract with dell, we have for years, and i hate it. some of the servers are from Sun, but that's another topic, since its not even x86. the server for my work's website (i work on campus) is about 7 years old now -- it's a Quad PII 400MHz w/ 2GB RAM & 4x18GB RAID5 (55GB total) array. i think we paid close to $10,000 at the time. to think what I could build with just $3000-$4000 and a couple Opterons...it's disgusting.
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March 15, 2006 1:12:44 AM

New to this site and these forums. I actually found it while I was doing some Dell / AMD research. I am a senior consultant for Dell and can comment, to some extent anyway, on this discussion. What I was looking for however, and what I am more interested in is the potential of Dell striking a deal with AMD to start selling AMD based systems. They were in negotiations in 2004 and it fell through, it sounds like they may actually do it this time. I obviously have no insider information because I am on the net doing research like any other analyst watching the market. Not that I could or would share it if I had it ; )

You all raise some good points. I agree the question is one of business and is not necessarily technical in nature. Dell was the first and still remains the only, truly direct computer manufacturer. They don't have floor space at Circuit City and Best Buy and that is by design. Dell actually carries no inventory at all, they only own the systems that they sell for 6 hours. Every single order is built to spec. and suppliers keep, contractually, 3 days of parts on factory lots. By the way, if you get a chance to tour a Dell factory you should do it, pretty neat stuff. This is the stuff that makes Dell's numbers go up and up, they are ingenious in the space of business process improvement, they don't suffer from the bloat that HP, IBM, and SUN have. Look at 'just in time' manufacturing if your interested in how they pull that off.

Yes Dell has an amazing foot hold in higher ed, federal, k-12, and most other major markets. Dell does some things pretty good, like make boxes, and then they do things that are unstoppable, like their marketing, business processes, etc. I mean its the whole apple vs. windows thing, or windows vs. linux, or novell vs. windows. If I had a dime for every time I did a project at a university that was migrating off of novell and onto windows and someone said "It's not a technical decision, it's a business decision", I'd be a rich man. I could build a company the fastest and cleanest network in the world on white boxes running Linux, but it's not duplicatable, it's not scalable, it's not supported, etc. etc. Unfortunately it's not always a technical decision.

Sorry to be so long winded. I anxiously await replies. Please try not to ask me anything I can not answer due to conflict of interests. Dell holds ethics as it's top priority and I won't waiver on anything that could be conceived as unethical.

J

Oh yeah, here are some links on the Dell-AMD buzz.

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=29756

http://news.com.com/2061-10791_3-6033527.html
March 17, 2006 4:43:38 AM

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Dell holds ethics as it's top priority and I won't waiver on anything that could be conceived as unethical.


Is it really ethical to take jobs away from people who can effectively communicate with the customer and give it to someone else just because they can pay that person $1 / hr instead of an American $10, $12 or $15 per hour. I know it's cost effective, but ethical? I don't really think so. Is it ethical to take money from a customer and crap on them when they need support. Telling them over and over again that it's a "software" problem just because they can't effectively communicate to troubleshoot the hardware. Is it ethical to not pay an employees corporate credit card for 6 months, even though the employee turned in all receipts and the manager was lazy and didn't turn in the paperwork. Then, force the employee to pay the penalties and late fees associated with dHell's lazyness. http://www.ihatedell.net/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2492

Ok, I know that you are not at liberty to talk about any of this, my point is that Dell, while they preach ethics, sure as dHell don't practice it. If you are an ethical person, great, but don't throw dHell as being ethical as your excuse not to waiver.

I really do hope that Dell and AMD reach an agreement. I've been wanting to buy some stock in amd as I know their price will jump a bunch when that agreement happens.
March 18, 2006 10:27:32 PM

It appears to me that Dell pretty much dances to Intel's tune. I believe that Dell using AMD processors is more or less based on the kind of deal that Intel would be willing to give Dell should they use AMD, as I cannot buy into the scenario of that deal remaining the same as it is now. I think Dell realizes that most people do not care what manufacturer's CPU is in the box, and that they really aren't feeling the kind of pressure to use AMD that we might suspect. I concede they may be feeling some pressure on the server front, but not really on the desktop. Dell is likely getting a very sweet deal from Intel, and knows it probably isn't in it's best interest to spoil that to use chips from AMD. Most computer buyers are looking for low price in a recognizable name, which Dell provides. The fact that AMD processors outperform Intel's is really irrelevant for the masses, because most of them do not tax their PC enough to notice the difference, or become knowledgeable enough to know about the different processors. Most of our customers totally rely on our recommendations, and most of our customers that bring Dell's in for repair say they bought Dell because they are the big name in computers and the price was right. They perceive that Dell is the best, and perception is reality, like it or not. I would like to see Dell use AMD products, but I'm not holding my breath as I consider that possibility very remote, at best.
March 19, 2006 3:57:32 AM

Easy guys, I just work for Dell, I don't own the company. There are several things to address here.

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Is it really ethical to take jobs away from people who can effectively communicate with the customer and give it to someone else just because they can pay that person $1 / hr instead of an American $10, $12 or $15 per hour. I know it's cost effective, but ethical?


Guess what, every major manufacturer takes at least some of its operations off shores. This is not a Dell-only ploy. You can blame liberals (and conservatives for that matter), bloated government, taxes, and the american culture in general which penalizes people for being successful. In order for companies to stay competitive in this market they have to find ways to save money, outsourcing off shores is a way to do that. Is it Dell's fault that a $1 / hour job in India is like having a $20 / hour job here in the states? Is it Dell's fault that the american dollar is strong, that HP, IBM, and Sun are all off shores, that corporate taxes are so high, and everything else that makes going off shores a good option. Put all your dogma aside for a minute and think about it. These are not manufacturing sweat shops in Panama, they're call centers. Dell is staying within federal / international regulations and paying workers a fair wage for their work. If you think about it they are bringing jobs and prosperity into other countries. I'm not behind outsourcing myself really, but for different reasons, I'm just saying you can't say Dell is evil for doing it. It's perfectly legal, is being done by almost everybody, and I have to believe that federal laws are in place to prevent companies from taking advantage of labor in 3rd world countries. Lastly, the majority of Dell's market is in the business space. The support levels that come with business products include only american call centers. Unfortunately the consumer market and margin is smaller so Dell has to invest where it is making money, so that's in the business market and business support. You want better support? Buy a latitude instead of inspiron, an optiplex instead of a dimension.

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Is it ethical to take money from a customer and crap on them when they need support. Telling them over and over again that it's a "software" problem just because they can't effectively communicate to troubleshoot the hardware.


You get what you pay for. Use the 'chat online' support option, I think that is still all in the states. That's what I use for both my personal and business Dell support needs and I have never had a problem with it.

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Is it ethical to not pay an employees corporate credit card for 6 months, even though the employee turned in all receipts and the manager was lazy and didn't turn in the paperwork. Then, force the employee to pay the penalties and late fees associated with dHell's lazyness. http://www.ihatedell.net/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2...


Yeah, it sounds like this guy got a raw deal, I agree. I don't think it was some conspiracy though, just a bad manager. Dell is almost 60,000 people. Even if 90% of those folks were outstanding, hard working, totally ethical people, you still end up with 6,000 numnuts. Sounds like this guy got one of the 6,000. You can't look at one instance though and judge an entire company based on that one-sided story. This guy should have gone to his boss's boss, if that didn't work he should have gone to HR. If people can keep emotions, ego, angst, and all of that out of a business environment, and can think through things they can generally solve anything that comes up. I have travelled extensively with Dell over the past couple of years and have never had any problems with the corporate card stuff. Like the ethics thing, you have to go on what your experience is. I've never personally had any support problems, ethics problems, corporate card problems, etc. Everybody I have ever interacted with at Dell has been top notch and on the level. So my experience is that Dell IS an ethical company with quality products and quality support. Even if I ever do sometime in the future receive occassionally something different than what I have experienced thus far then I just have to chock it up to the 90/10 rule I mentioned earlier. I am 100% satisfied now, I could stand to be 90% satisfied and still be happy.

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Ok, I know that you are not at liberty to talk about any of this, my point is that Dell, while they preach ethics, sure as dHell don't practice it. If you are an ethical person, great, but don't throw dHell as being ethical as your excuse not to waiver.


I can talk about my opinion and my personal experience. By sticking to ethics and not waivering I mean I can't come on some public board and post some Dell internal news, or some inside stock tips, or speak as though I am some official representative of Dell because I am not. I was just saying please don't ask me something you know I can't answer. This is still America though, free speech and all, doesn't matter who I work for I can still speak my mind. I expect somebody from Dell will run across this post at some point in the future and look my name up or something. I am not concerned though because I speak the truth and won't do anything to jeopardize myself or Dell. That's all I meant by that, I can't / won't do anything illegal or unethical. My experience is that Dell DOES practice ethics, again, it goes back to what people's experiences are. I can't / won't go into details but I have personally seen many many occassions where it is proven that ethics are extremely important at Dell. On one occassion I saw us walk away from a deal (a big deal, talking millions of dollars) because the customer thought they would give us a hand up and show us what our competition was bidding on the project. Now everybody involved was asked to please delete the information without looking at it. Even though we knew we hadn't done anything unethical we still walked away from the deal because it could have been 'construed' as unethical. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody is looking.

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I really do hope that Dell and AMD reach an agreement. I've been wanting to buy some stock in amd as I know their price will jump a bunch when that agreement happens.


You might have missed that boat, partially at least. When the rumor hit the street in January AMD's stock jumped. I'm sure it will again when / if Dell and AMD actually go through with it. Dell's stock is undervalued right now at ~$29, that's where I have (would suggest) put my money. Again, that's just based on the research I've done on Google. I don't know exactly why Walstreet does not favor Dell. We hit our numbers something like 16 quarters in a row. We missed a couple of times recently, but they weren't even total misses. Sometimes it would be like we hit our numbers on international enterprise and consumer business, domestic enterprise, but missed on domestic consumer. Or we hit our own internal and publicized numbers, but walstreet had higher numbers for us. We don't go by walstreet estimates and demands, I guess that's why they don't like us.

I appreciate your comments though, even if I don't agree with them. It forces me to evaluate what I know and believe.

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It appears to me that Dell pretty much dances to Intel's tune. I believe that Dell using AMD processors is more or less based on the kind of deal that Intel would be willing to give Dell should they use AMD, as I cannot buy into the scenario of that deal remaining the same as it is now.


I'm not totally happy that Dell remains the only major manufacturer not to sell AMD, HP, IBM, Sun, Gateway and everbody else is on board. It's true AMD can not supply Dell enough product to keep a Dell-AMD line going, that's too bad, but that's just the facts. They don't have the manufacturing capacity to do it, well at least not in an absolute sense. They have enough to offer AMD in a few select markets, say servers and gaming machines. This is where the biggest cost / performance gap is anyway and where Dell will probably start the line if / when they do. Oddly enough I have never owned an AMD box but have always liked their products. I have just been fortunate to always get the vast majority of my technical needs met by the companies I have worked for over the past 17 years and I just have always received Intel based products. There was a time when AMD was the real underdog and just made some slightly lower performance CPUs at a greatly reduced price. These days they are making superior performance processors at a slightly reduced price however. The market has finally recognized them for what they have done. I take that back I did build one AMD box, a whitebox project, I built it with my 13 year old son a a gift and to show him how to build machines. It was a sempron and I really wasn't impressed at all except for the price. But again, you get what you pay for. My next heavy duty desktop is going to be a dual Opteron.

But I digress, terribly, yes, I agree, the Intel-Dell relationship would certainly suffer from an AMD-Dell deal. I have to imagine that is the fence that Dell is walking. Is our market share and margins increase going to be enough from an AMD dell to compensate for lost Intel investment dollars. I guess we'll know that eventually. My hope and guess is that they will go with AMD, even if it means losing a little money initially. AMD is making superior products for less money, you can't ignore that. Not going with AMD, to me, borders on unethical. This smacks of 'good ol boy' mentality. Sticking with an inferior solution because you are getting paid to do it. I guess it all comes down to business and margins, it just doesn't seem right. You know AMD has a law suit against Intel for just this kind of alleged market rigging. Dell has already agreed to fully cooperate in the proceedings.

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I think Dell realizes that most people do not care what manufacturer's CPU is in the box, and that they really aren't feeling the kind of pressure to use AMD that we might suspect. I concede they may be feeling some pressure on the server front, but not really on the desktop. Dell is likely getting a very sweet deal from Intel, and knows it probably isn't in it's best interest to spoil that to use chips from AMD. Most computer buyers are looking for low price in a recognizable name, which Dell provides. The fact that AMD processors outperform Intel's is really irrelevant for the masses, because most of them do not tax their PC enough to notice the difference, or become knowledgeable enough to know about the different processors.


I think you are totally right.

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Most of our customers totally rely on our recommendations, and most of our customers that bring Dell's in for repair say they bought Dell because they are the big name in computers and the price was right. They perceive that Dell is the best, and perception is reality, like it or not. I would like to see Dell use AMD products, but I'm not holding my breath as I consider that possibility very remote, at best.


Too true, perception is reality. I am holding my breath however.

Thank you for the responses. I needed a mental enima to get all that out of my head.

JT
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