Dan Appleman: Kibitzing and Commentary

My personal blog

Joel Spolsky just posted an item on Why Dell.com Still Feels Like Buying A Used Car that describes how Dell’s attempt to segment their customer base makes it that much harder to buy a computer (and know you’re getting a good deal).
I do have two small items to add:
First, they aren’t just trying to make more from business customers – they’re trying to make more from all customers and manage their supply chain efficiently. Thomas Friedman writes about this in his fantastic book “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century” where he convinces Dell to trace the history of all the components that make up his laptop.
Second, assuming you aren’t buying in volume and able to negotiate a better deal, here’s a hint – always check prices on both the consumer and small business sites. The consumer site may seem cheaper, but they sometimes stack the small business site with some serious rebates and premium service plans that can actually make it less expensive for a comparable or better machine.
For the biggest bang for the buck on PCs, the best deals are often the refurbished units or discontinued models, where you can get 6 month old technology for a substantial discount over the latest and greatest. I discuss this in my article “The Best Deals on Desktop PCs“.