Friday, August 25, 2006

Is Sony, Apple or Dell In Trouble?



© Gaston / The Inquirer


People displeased with Dell Computers were pleased to see a Dell laptop burst into flames a few months ago. I would have been the same if I despised Dell Computers. However, I'm a Dell customer. During the last three years, I bought two desktops from Dell. I like the convenience of online shopping. With few clicks of a mouse, you build the computer that suites your needs and budget. No salesperson tries to sell you oranges when you want to buy apples.

I must admit that Dell customer service isn't great. They call when you don't need them. They usually call a month or two after you buy a computer from them. They don't call to check your satisfaction with the purchased computer. They call to sell you a computer warranty. I always answer with my policy, "If a computer breaks within a short time of its purchase, I stop buying the computer brand." I'm not sure they expect this answer. But, it sure stops their calls.

Anyway, back to the battery subject. After much criticism and pressure due to a few flaming incidents, Dell recalled 4.1 million notebook batteries made by Sony. However, Dell's problems didn't end. A couple in South Florida claim their house burst into flames after their Dell laptop's battery overheated. Then, Qantas issued a safety advisory for travelers with Dell notebook. As expected, Dell shares went down with all the bad news.

Sony thought it was on the safe side, when Fujitsu and other Japanese computer makers said their laptops where designed to avoid Sony batteries overheating problem. That went well until Apple voluntarily recalled 1.8 million Sony batteries. According to experts, Dell and Apple package their batteries in a way that cause them to overheat. As expected, Sony shares fell after the Dell and Apple battery recalls. Big surprise!!!

I had problems with more than one Sony computer accessory. I made a decision to stop buying Sony computer accessories long before the battery recall. I think Sony needs to stick to making crystal clear HDTVs.

So, which of the three is in trouble? None one because they're still the biggest players in the computer market. Until another company can offer better products, people will continue to buy Apple, Dell and Sony products.

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