Now here's a legal hornet's nest...
According to the New York Times, Dell knowingly sold 11.8m OptiPlex PCs between 2003 and 2005 which had a 97 per cent failure rate. Worse still, the paper alleges that their inherent fault (bad capacitors) could cause fires and Dell - so desperate to save money - ignored the problem, told support staff to play dumb and even refit some affected machines with the same batch of dangerous components.
Yes it's a stunning revelation and only becomes public since documents from a three year old lawsuit were recently unsealed. Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn told the NYT the company is unable to comment on past or pending litigation, something it had hoped to resolve after taking out a $300m charge to fix or replace the affected computers in 2005.
Given the nature of these revelations and the on-going legal issues we'll let you make up your own mind on this fascinating story, but it is safe to say a high volume, low margin business model is always a pressure environment. I suspect this story will run and run...
In related computer problems Sony has dismissed the Wall Street Journal's report that it is about to recall over 500,000 Vaio F11 and CW2 laptops because of overheating. Sony does acknowledge the issues, but said they can be fixed with a simple firmware update (link below).
Dell must wish it's problems were so easily solved.