T Nation

Dell vs Gateway: What Happened?

To the Computer people of the Testosterone Family:

There was a time when Dell and Gateway were going head-to-head in the Computer Market.

Now, Gateway is hemorrhaging and losing money…and Dell is surging forward with record profits.

What happened? I REALLY missed this one!


Everyone knows that the Dell-Boy commercial strategy made the difference. :wink:

Honestly, I hate Dell. I’ve had one for about three years now and nothin’ but problems. Then, you have the pleasure of being on hold with Dell service for up to 3 hours.

I agree w/ poohbaya Dell’s marketing campain is like Microsofts. I usually don’t buy Dell computers but I bought I perfer going to my local computer store and have the guy that runs it build one for me. And ususally its a great deal and you get a lot more then what you will be getting if you buy a dell or a gateway. But I bought a Dell instead this time because of the deal they were running. It was too cheap to not buy it.

Nah, Dell makes a great computer.

Gateway’s major problem is the only way you can upgrade is to buy a Gateway made or approved component. Buy Gateway, (and pay the price) or buy nothing.

Dells, for the most part, are dependable. Our company of 4,000 switched to them mainly because our Information Support Services group got sick of all the calls for help with the other systems.

you would be better off buying a computer at a show than dell or gateway.

Gateway’s problem was/is a stupid business plan. An entire store to sell one brand of computer??? It works in other industries, but apparently not the pc business. The stores are costing them tons of money and their profits are way down.

I agree, it was the “Dude you’re gettin’ a Dell” campaign.

From talking to people I know, Dell owners usualluy are more satisfied with their purchase.

However, I would never buy a name brand computer. It’s cheaper to build one yourself or to get one from a show.

Dell supposedly has great prices and outstanding customer service. I had a Gateway as a frosh in college, and it sucked ass. I installed some extras in it (CD burner, more RAM) and it was such a pain in the ass. I purchased a Dell later on, and it sucked ass too. I now have an HP, and I love it. In fact, I have two, but I have to fix one (loose wire causing screen problems). Personally, I wouldn’t ever go with Dell, because I can never go talk to someone without holding a phone to my ear. Gateway is pretty expensive (except for their 42" plasma tv, 2999) and their products suck too. Next time I want a computer, I’m going to build my own.

Three Questions:

1)So…does Gateway play the “Apple Prioritary” game for parts and components? I didn’t know that.

2)It looks like the stores that sell only one brand turned out to be a BIG bust. Is that true also?

3)What do you guys (in general) think about the solid local companies that build computers from sratch? They have some CRAZY commercials sometimes…but they seem pretty solid.


in one of my accounting courses we talked about how gateway is shooting themselves in the foot due to high fixed costs from their stores…They arent selling enough comps in their stores to cover the rent salaries etc and yet they cant get out of their leases…in 3 yrs or less they will be toast!

For the “Dell vs. Gateway” discussion, we should qualify whether we are talking about personal use or corporate use. My preference for personal use would be to have a reliable shop (or a friend) custom build one. It is definitely cheaper (think marketing costs) and you don’t have a lot of virtually useless components. Plus, there’s the customized service, too.

However, for corporate use I’d certainly recommend Dell. Over the last three years, we’ve had to replace every single PCU and monitor for 500+ users - from Gateway to Dell. A full 27% of the Gateway systems arrived defective, 34% arrived late and 21% of the systems that actually arrived on-time and worked initially had warranty issues within 3 months. Service time sucked, service quality sucked, exchange/replacement was a huge hassle. It was a fucking nightmare. We switched to Dell and the orders arrived promptly, the systems worked, any questions were handled efficiently and professionally and we’ve had less than 1% warranty issues arise (which were taken care of expeditously).

I’m a Software Engineer for a small consulting company, less than eight employees, and since I also have an MCSE I was “volunteered” to be the network/support guy as well. I’ve found Dell to be more reliable and easier to support in general.

I’ve been phasing the “custom” pc’s out because they seem to have the most problems. Failure rates are very high for computer components and unless your custom supplier adequately tests them you will end up with hardware issues. When I was building a PC a couple years ago for myself I took a bad SIMM to exchange from the custom system builder from whom I purchased it. He popped it into a system and it worked so he gave me a hard time about exchanging it so I left and brought back the print out from my friends memory tester to show them it was defective.

Unless you’re comfortable cracking the case of your computer and know you have a reliable custom builder you should probably just buy a name brand.

When I bought my Gateway, the tower, keyboard, mouse and speakers all came, then TWO WEEKS later, the printer and monitor came. The speaker cords were cut too. How sucky.

Screw’em both. I bought an emachine. It was affordable, works great, and I can upgrade it as I feel necessary and I’m protected by my service plan for three years. Well worth the investment since every computer I’ve owned has blown up within two years! I’d rather spend less. It’s a damn computer. It’ll be outdated in no time. Why spend more?

Gateway has crappy business model and shitty marketing (Screwed up 4 P’s). Their cash flow sucks, too. Besides thier cow-like look (the black/white print thingie that they got) is now blending w/ Chik-file ads.

I own a HP laptop, and I HATE the damned thing. Had to get it replaced 6 times in 2 years! Ugh! And it’s slow as hell, too, and it’s PIII with over a GHz of processing power and a ton of RAM. Totally useless.

I’m typing this on a gateway laptop, and while it is litterally falling apart at the seems, it is three years old and has served me well despite lots of abuse. Computers just aren’t as durable as they used to be. Remember back in the 80’s and real early 90’s when weight and style weren’t issues? I used the keyboard off my 286 (I think it was that one…) up through my pentium 2. With every new computer I would get, the keyboard would fail in 6mths, but that old clunker, I spilled on it, dropped it on concrete, etc. and it still worked perfectly. I should go find that thing, I think I still have it somewhere. I can give it beer… and it will still work fine.

“outdated computers … within 3 months.”

That one of my beefs about brand name PC companies - they try to sell you more of a computer than you need. If you wanted a computer for email, the internet, instant messenging, office software, and maybe some simple games what would you need? A 500 MGH computer with 256 MB of RAM, and onboard audio/video would be more than enough. The name brand compnaies don’t even offer anything that “outdated.”

Dell dropped the “Dell Dude.” Probally not a good idea.

Make or have somone who knows their hardware really well build one…screw the over the counter crapola…

Nate - I was wondering about people’s experiences with e-machines. It’s good to hear positive feedback.

Anybody else have first-hand experience with an e-machine?

Dell’s secret is a JIT (just-in-time) production model. They keep very little inventory onhand, build to order, and circumvent the obsolescence problems of other manufacturers. This in turn drops system prices, and consumers love them for it.

I consider Dell the best of the OEMs. The most reliable, the best parts, the best prices. Support’s gone downhill a bit lately, but it’s still decent. And if you order their recommended systems, it’s actually pretty reasonable on the wallet.

Problems occur when you attempt to customize. Dell doesn’t like this. If they did, they wouldn’t charge 5 times base costs to upgrade the memory.