Starting within the next few weeks, Dell computers (notebooks and desktops) will be for sale in more than 900 Best Buy locations in the U.S. After this move, Dell’s products will be available in almost 10,000 stores worldwide. This seems ironic considering Dell pioneered the low cost, online, skip-the-middleman model. But the company lost the “world’s largest computer maker” trophy to HP, and the retail distribution channel is one area where HP shines.
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The big computer companies seem to have one thing in common right now: bring computer gaming to the masses. Last week HP launched the Blackbird 002 desktop PC, the company’s first HP-branded gaming PC. The starting price is $2,500, roughly half the cost of much of the high-end gaming competition.
Then there’s Gateway (soon to be purchased by Acer), which plans to introduce a gaming PC in November called FX540 with a gaming-oriented notebook line planned for release in January. And let’s not forget that both Toshiba and Dell released new, more affordable gaming computers this summer. Toshiba, with its Satellite x205 series of gaming notebooks which start at around $2,000, and Dell with its XPS 720 gaming desktop, which starts at roughly $1,700.
Microsoft software will sell for just $3 in some parts of the world in an attempt to reach the five out of six people worldwide still not using computers. The software giant has a goal of bringing computing to a further one billion people by 2015 (doubling the current number of computer users). Bill Gates made the announcement during a speech in Beijing:
With an estimated 500 million pounds of electronics collecting dust in California’s closets, garages and attics, finding ways to reuse those metals, plastics and chemicals is critical. That’s where John Shegerian’s company, Electronic Recyclers, comes in. The Futures Channel takes viewers inside the largest electronic recycling plant in California in its new online micro-documentary, “Recycling Computers.”
Walt Mossberg of Wall Street Journal fame has an article out (subscription required) explaining just how much crap his brand new Sony laptop came with. And we’re not talking full programs either; these are trial versions which force you to pay later if you’re really interested. Walt counted about two dozen “craplets” pre-installed, which likely are part of the reason for the over two minutes of time it takes the computer to start up (compared to 30 seconds for a comparable Apple MacBook, ouch!). Sony’s response:
As of yesterday, Microsoft and Lenovo Group have an agreement that Lenovo computers will come pre-loaded with a toolbar powered by Microsoft’s Windows Live. Lenovo is the world’s third largest PC maker and is the first computer manufacturer to formalize an arrangement with Windows Live. Windows Live is also third in its sphere, ranked behind Google and Yahoo in terms of market share.
Which company did Lenovo use prior to Microsoft for default search and toolbar installation? Google.
CompUSA recently announced that it will be closing more than half of its 225 stores (see the list of closings here). The computer store chain is giving the following reason, “Based on changing conditions in the consumer retail electronics markets, the company identified the need to close and sell stores with low performance or nonstrategic, old store layouts and locations faced with market saturation.”
Translation: CompUSA hasn’t been competitive for some time, and the problem has caught up with the retailer. There are only so many computer beginners willing to pay $20 for a printer cable available for less than half that price at many locations both on and offline.
Dell is shelling out $5 million to ex-CEO Kevin Rollins who stepped down on January 31 and will leave the company on May 4. The $5 million in cash will be given out over the next two years. Founder Michael Dell is back in charge and has to clean up the mess of disappointing earnings, a laptop battery recall, an accounting investigation, and HP taking over the number one spot in the market.