Former PC World chief: Macs no more expensive than PCs

Paul Boutin · 08/15/08 05:40PM

"A MacBook is in the same ballpark as a roughly similar Dell or HP, and less than a Sony." That's the conclusion of Technologizer editor Harry McCracken, after running the numbers several different ways on competing notebooks. The MacBook didn't win most hardware categories, but it came out well-rounded, with superior warranty service and media software. McCracken, until recently the editor in chief of PC World, was infamous among local tech journalists for toting Apple laptops to work.

Dell still wants to get paid every time you say "cloud computing"

Alaska Miller · 08/11/08 05:20PM

Dell's recent attempt to register the term "cloud computing" as a trademark has taken on one small hitch. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently reversed its decision to grant a "Notice of Allowance" — a written notification that a specific mark has survived the opposition period following publication — and is reviewing Dell's request once more. Maybe Dell will have better luck selling its MP3 players. [Sam Johnston]

Dell trademarks cloud computing

Paul Boutin · 08/06/08 05:00PM

The PC megamaker quietly obtained trademark protection last month for the term "cloud computing." U.S. law says that as soon as Dell begins using the term, it owns the trademark and can force other companies to stop using it. But realistically, would you try to sell "cloud computing" to Wal-mart shoppers? Dell's move will probably backfire by forcing other companies to come up with a more appealing term for the technology. Everybody wins!

Dell and Sony discover gold in the old

Owen Thomas · 07/03/08 03:00PM

A relentless neophilia is Silicon Valley's signature characteristic. One must have a new iPhone, a new Twitter, a new electric car. You're either in beta or in the grave. That's why I'm intrigued by two decisions by Dell and Sony. Dell has figured out a way to wriggle around Microsoft's licensing rules and still sell its discontinued Windows XP operating system. Sony, meanwhile, is profitably selling its nine-year-old PlayStation 2 videogame console in markets like India. This just isn't done.

Dell, far too late, trims ad-agency roster down to one

Nicholas Carlson · 05/20/08 05:00PM

Why is Dell taking a beating from HP? One reason may be that it didn't apply its vaunted supply-chain techniques to its marketing. Before asking WPP to create a single-client ad agency just for Dell, the PC maker worked with 800 advertising agencies around the world. []

Dell names new CFO

Nicholas Carlson · 05/19/08 11:40AM

Dell replaced departing CFO Don Carty with Brian Gladden, former CEO of a plastics company. Carty is the third exec in recent weeks to leave Dell as its founder Michael Dell, recently returned to the CEO role, cuts payroll costs in an effort to turn around the company. Carty, a Dell board member who stepped in after a former CFO quit in late 2006, is also the chairman of Virgin America. [WSJ]

HP moving to acquire EDS in $12 billion-plus deal

Owen Thomas · 05/12/08 02:40PM

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Hewlett-Packard is nearing a deal to buy EDS for $12 billion to $13 billion. Having set Dell back on its heels in PC sales, HP is now moving to challenge IBM. As computers become commodities, the money is in installing and maintaining them, not marking up Intel's microprocessors and Microsoft's operating system for a thin margin. One wonders if Michael Dell is gutsy enough to launch a rival bid — or, with HP now worth three times as much as Dell, if he can really afford to.

Your pink slip is here

Nicholas Carlson · 04/03/08 04:20PM

Dell will lay off more than the 8,800 employees it originally estimated last year, CEO Michael Dell told analysts. Since last year, the company has fired 3,200. Another 900 will go with the impending closure of an Austin, Texas factory. [WSJ]

Dell lays off 900 as it closes once-groundbreaking PC factory

Jordan Golson · 04/01/08 04:00PM

Dell is closing its Austin, Texas manufacturing plant, once hailed as a miracle of modern manufacturing, and will fire up to 900 employees. The computer maker is looking to save $3 billion over the next three years and views the firings as a "opportunity to drive both productivity and efficiency." Dell announced last year that it wanted to cut 8,800 jobs or 10 percent of its workforce. So far, the company has laid off more than 3,000 workers. Which serves as a reminder: For the 250, April 1 is a big joke; for working stiffs who actually make technology and have to hit their numbers, it's the deadly serious start of the second quarter. (Photo by Michael Kanellos/

Jordan Golson · 02/28/08 04:51PM

Dell's profit declined 6.5 percent to $679 million. Restructuring and other charges hurt the computer maker's bottom line. Revenue climbed 10 percent to $16 billion. The company, which has been struggling to reshape itself in the cutthroat computer market, warned future results could suffer as it incurs more restructuring costs and copes with "conservative spending" by customers. [WSJ]

Can we get a do-over?

Jordan Golson · 02/22/08 07:40PM

2008 has not been kind to tech stocks, especially the Valley's leading lights.

Michael Dell wants to buy his little brother's start-up, awww

Mary Jane Irwin · 02/13/08 04:20PM

Michael Dell is adding one more bronco to his stable, email backup service MessageOne. The company is ho-hum — boring enterprise software; the founder, not so much. That's because his last name is also Dell. As in Adam Dell, Michael's younger brother. That's not the only part of this deal that's staying in the family: The $155 million addition will kick $12 million back to Michael, who invested in MessageOne. He says his profits will go to charity. Adam will walk away with $1 million, and the brother's parents, another $500,000.

Dude, you're not getting a Dell ... with an AMD chip

Jordan Golson · 02/08/08 04:19PM

Dell has stopped selling almost all consumer PCs with AMD processors in favor of chips from Intel. It will continue to sell AMD machines over the phone and through retail partners like Wal-Mart, but since much of Dell's computer sales are through its website, this is a serious blow to AMD. Dell spokesman David Frink did not give any reasoning behind the switch, but said "we adjust our product offerings frequently." A posting on the Direct2Dell blog said "we are committed to the AMD product lines as a long-term partner to provide the maximum choice for our customers." Translation: Intel gave Dell a better deal. AMD shareholders were not impressed with the switch: AMD was off almost 3.5 percent on the day. (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)

Tech ads from the Super Bowl

Jordan Golson · 02/03/08 11:37PM

While none of these can match the drama of Apple's 1984 ad — or the actual football game — a few of this year's crop of tech ads made me laugh. Check out these clips from Dell,,, CareerBuilder, E-Trade and more.

Dude, you're not getting a Dell ... at the mall

Jordan Golson · 01/30/08 08:45PM

Dell is closing its 140 mall kiosks to focus on sales through major retailers like Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Staples, all of which Dell has made deals with in the past few months. The kiosks will be be mostly closed within a few days, though Dell kiosks abroad will remain open.