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Dell Battery Recall- Win for the Web

CmdrTaco posted about 8 years ago | from the well-this-isn't-exactly-new dept.

110

conq writes "BusinessWeek has an article on how the Dell recalls show the true power of the web and how the attack on the Dell batteries evolved on the web. From the article: But in cyberspace the race was on to dig out every last byte of 'truth' about those flaming PCs. Gadget news blogs like Gizmodo and Engadget spat out facts and rumors with equal zeal. They were relentless advocates for the consumer, too. On July 31, Engadget posted photos of a Dell notebook that had caught fire in Singapore. Its comment: 'We'll keep posting these until we see a recall or a solution, so please, Dell, treat 'em right.'"

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My battery exploded. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007584)

Story here [macslash.org] ,

Re:My battery exploded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007644)

Sure it did. How about linking to an article that actually says something about exploding batteries rather than an anti-Mac troll?

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007680)

Dude, you missed your chance.

Tinfoil Hat On (4, Funny)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | about 8 years ago | (#16007789)

Why do you think these companies recalled the batteries? By choice? No, once it was discovered the laptops could explode the government forced the recall so terrorists would not buy hundreds of laptops and turn them on while flying...

Think about it.

Re:Tinfoil Hat On (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007962)

Tinfoil Hat On

don't u mean prozac doped band aids on?

Re:Tinfoil Hat On (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | about 8 years ago | (#16007967)

That seems more likely than either of these companies admitting they did something wrong.

Re:Tinfoil Hat On (4, Insightful)

Daytona955i (448665) | about 8 years ago | (#16008025)

Or maybe, just maybe, a company said hey, these are dangerous and we should recall them. Companies do it all the time even when there's not a chance of things catching on fire. Perhaps it's to avoid a class action lawsuit, perhaps it's ethics, perhaps it's because if they don't, people won't buy their product anymore.

I could post doctored photos posing as various different people and cause an "uproar." Does this mean a company like Dell is going to recall their product with no investigation into my claims? I'd hope not.

Re:Tinfoil Hat On (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | about 8 years ago | (#16008153)

>>perhaps it's ethics

Now, whose being naive?

Seriously though, there is no way the recall is going to stop a class action lawsuit. That's going to happen no matter what.

Re:Tinfoil Hat On (3, Insightful)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | about 8 years ago | (#16008072)

Funny you mention it but I would bet a dozen donuts that dell had a failure % specified in their contract that would trigger a recall. Methinks people on the net have an inflated view of their importance.

Or Dell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007624)

could sell those laptops in the fire starters section of hardware stores.

This helped for the apple recall too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007626)

Their notebooks were exploding and catching fire as well. They've been making explosives for longer than Dell, so they have a bit more experience. You think they would have recalled earlier, but they decided to wait.

Re:This helped for the apple recall too (2, Insightful)

Lord Padishar (994400) | about 8 years ago | (#16007652)

I'm just surprised Dell owned up to replacing 4 million batteries. that's a pretty big kick in the wallet for Dell. the funny thing is that Sony was the battery manufacturer; Dell just purchased the batteries from Dell and stuck them in their laptops. I wonder if sony will bear the financial burden when all is said and done.

Re:This helped for the apple recall too (3, Informative)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 8 years ago | (#16007706)

AFAIK Sony are coughing up for this one. I read that this plus the ongoing PS3 and Blue-ray issues are being cited as wrecking their attempts at a turnaround this year.

Re:This helped for the apple recall too (5, Informative)

Afrosheen (42464) | about 8 years ago | (#16007740)

You are correct, Sony is footing most of the bill. The funny thing is, the majority of the batteries involved (in the older D600 series and across the line) have already gone to battery heaven due to their age and lack of storage ability. None of my 6 clients with D600's had a battery affected by the recall.

  Dell estimated the bill at around $300m USD so it's just a one-time write-off for Sony. With their total sales of $71.2B USD in 2004, I doubt that 300m USD will hurt them at all. It's more painful for their reputation than anything. After all, when big boys like Dell and Apple rely on you for batteries and you give them C4, they get upset.

Re:This helped for the apple recall too (1)

lee1026 (876806) | about 8 years ago | (#16007975)

Well, that is still a good 0.5% of sony's revenue. In a low margin business like that, it might put a dent on the profits.

writing this on a Dell laptop (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007639)

Cool! First Po...(bang!)

Obligatory Monty Python Reference (2)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#16008985)

What?

First Po...(bang!)

What is that?

It must have exploded while he typed it.

Oh, come on.

Well that's what it says.

Look, if it was exploding, he wouldn't bother to write "(bang!)". It'd just say it!

Well that's what's written on the /.

Perhaps he was dictating.

Oh, shut up. ... Well, does it say anything else?

No, just, "Bang".

-Rick

assuming the web was the cause... (4, Insightful)

doce (31638) | about 8 years ago | (#16007640)

This, of course, assumes that "the web" was directly at cause for the eventual recall.

Having worked QA for a competitor of Dell's that's under similar scrutiny, and knowing what mechanisms we had in place, I would imagine that the various bloggers had - at best - a tangential relationship to the end game here. Of course, that's assuming that Dell has QA mechanisms in place that are at least half as smart as ours were...

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (5, Funny)

LindseyJ (983603) | about 8 years ago | (#16007990)

Shhhh! Man, the Slashdot Circle-Jerk hasn't even started yet and you're already trying to rain on their parade!

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (4, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | about 8 years ago | (#16008284)

That's not rain.

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 8 years ago | (#16009084)

Oh, is that your leg?

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16008017)

What official recognized Quality Control (QC) program does Dell use ?
and what of those used by their competitors?

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16008270)

we insure Businesses
  We are to look very closely at our clients who do not have formal recognized QC programs, and list the manufactures name and models of the electronics they use .
We also want to know who uses rechargeable batteries and by what manufacturer . These factor will alter their premiums
That is basic Insurance risk management 101 ,albeit a reactive but wise move .

 

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 years ago | (#16008313)

It's not about finding the problem but making the manufacturer fix it.

Please review Tyler Durden's formula for deciding whether or not to issue an automotive recall.

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (1)

azuretek (708981) | about 8 years ago | (#16008720)

I just watched Fight Club last night and this is the first thing I thought of.

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about 8 years ago | (#16008864)

We may never know.

But it could have initially been: Dell going to Sony saying: "We have a problem", and Sony saying "Oops! OK we've changed stuff, should be fine now, we pay for whatever blows up ok?". At this point if Dell wants to recall, Dell has to pay a fair bit - since not enough people are convinced it's a big enough problem, and Sony only commits to paying for what blows up.

Then when stuff hits the fan (theinquirer, etc), Dell goes to Sony and says: "Look, all bets are off, it's your frigging fault and you know it, if people sue us, we're gonna sue you, so fix it". By this time Apple (and maybe other manufacturers) probably saying to Sony- hey you know that "Dell problem"...

So Sony pays.

In my opinion Sony has fallen to great depths. Wonder if they've taken the worst of the Japan and USA cultures rather than the best ;). They might be adding the worst of the Chinese corporate cultures too...

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 8 years ago | (#16010281)

Smart companies get it written into the contract up front that if a component is recalled, the component manufacturer will pay for the recall and replacement of any device that contains that component. This is SOP for companies with half a clue, particularly for batteries and other potentially volatile parts....

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (1)

Auntie Virus (772950) | about 8 years ago | (#16008874)

This, of course, assumes that "the web" was directly at cause for the eventual recall.

Exactly!!!
TFA (I didn't read the whole thing) implies that pressure from the web, and videos/photos of flaming notebooks are responsible for Dell's recall. What a crock of shit!
Dell has done a few battery recalls, and at least 2 power supply recalls in the last 4 years, and none of those had near the media hype, and web hysteria that this one has had.
Our company has 80 of the affected laptop models, and only 6 batteries were affected. No explosions yet, though all six are on the shelf behind me. hmmm what's that smell....

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 8 years ago | (#16009107)

Teh interweb cause'd my Dell to explode into flames. My dog, too!

Damn you interweb! Damn you to hell!

Re:assuming the web was the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16009766)

It worked with the Kyrptonite locks. The flaws somehow didn't warrant a recall for the decade after they were detailed in cycing magazines. Within a week of it appearing on large websites like /. and CNN, Kryptonite announced exchanges for everyone.

Group Dynamics (-1, Offtopic)

mhazen (144368) | about 8 years ago | (#16007645)

While it's a Good Thing(TM) that this has evolved the way it was, anyone surprised by this has forgotten this:

http://www.demotivators.com/idiocy.html [demotivators.com]

Not a win at all (3, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 8 years ago | (#16007658)

There is no reason to think that JUST because the images and such where going around the web, Dell wouldnt have recalled them any later than they had. For one thing the recall hardly effected Dell, as the batteriers themselves where Sonys fuckup not theirs (and as such are effecting Apple too and possibly other companes) Secondly there is no evidence that it was just because of the exploding battery incidents that they where recalled.... they could have been planning a recall well before this.

Re:Not a win at all (3, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | about 8 years ago | (#16007747)

There is no reason to think that JUST because the images and such where going around the web, Dell wouldnt have recalled them any later than they had.

No, but it certainly was a powerful incentive, given that negative publicity, despite what they say, isn't necessarily a good thing. Dell couldn't afford to have Sony's problem destroy their laptop business; in turn, they simply couldn't roll over on Sony, given the business relationship. In the end, the Internet end of the campaign was only one component of the change, and though important, was probably not the biggest factor.

Re:Not a win at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16008847)

Affect. Damn it all! it's Affect!

Re:Not a win at all (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | about 8 years ago | (#16010032)

For one thing the recall hardly effected Dell, as the batteriers themselves where Sonys fuckup not theirs (and as such are effecting Apple too and possibly other companes)


Yes it is Sony's fault, but you don't hear that on the news. All you hear is that Dell is having a recall.

WE know better, but not the media. So Dell is being affected.

This is a good thing. (3, Insightful)

Were-Rabbit (959205) | about 8 years ago | (#16007668)

In many ways, this can only be a good thing. Years ago, it was always a bit easier for companies to have defective products or bad customer service because there was no way to really get information out to the masses.

Because information can now get distributed to millions of people by pressing an Enter key, it's great to see that things like this can be exposed. If anything, this should make companies look more closely at product quality and customer service -- or so we would hope. After all, a common mantra in marketing circles is that people rarely say anything when a product does what it's expected to do, but you can be sure they'll let as many people as possible know when something goes wrong.

Re:This is a good thing. (4, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | about 8 years ago | (#16007757)

Years ago, it was always a bit easier for companies to have defective products or bad customer service because there was no way to really get information out to the masses.

Er... exactly how many years ago do you mean. Over her in the UK consumer programs on television have been seriously high in the ratings since the sixties - maybe even the fifties but my family only got a TV in 61, so I can't remember. And before that there were the curious things called newspapers which... well you get the gist of what I'm saying. Even today, for the vast majority of consumers the prime source of information will be television, and that internet thingy is only used by the kids/for e-mail/pr0n/on-line poker.

Re:This is a good thing. (4, Insightful)

fimbulvetr (598306) | about 8 years ago | (#16007914)

The television and newspaper give you the news. On the internet, you go get the news. Big difference.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

lemur3 (997863) | about 8 years ago | (#16007917)

darn kids and their internet thingy I am sure some kids out there will intentionally avoid the recall just so they can record the ensuing explosion to post on the internet... this of course will get them on TV when their house burns down kids these days!

Re:This is a good thing. (2, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | about 8 years ago | (#16008033)

You kind of missed my point - what I'm saying is that the internet has yet to make that big an impact in consumer protection. The field is already quite well covered by media that have existed for decades.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | about 8 years ago | (#16007938)

While there have been shows like that here in the States for a while, this was a particular disaster for Dell not just because of the potential hazard but because -- what is Dell? A tech company. Most of the people who surf the Internet and read the tech blogs are tech-oriented people who are going to zoom in on tech-related issues and pass them on to other tech-oriented individuals.

The GP might have been a bit over-generalizing, the tech companies in particular need to be very careful about the quality of their products. News of problems with their products in particular are going to get roasted over the Internet faster than you can say, "The Internet is a series of tubes." He was, however, very accurate with the statement that problems and complaints are reported in much greater amounts than compliments, which can only be detrimental to tech companies that don't make good products.

Re:This is a good thing. (5, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | about 8 years ago | (#16008127)

I watch my non techie friends and peers as they purchase IT equipment. The process is
  1. Watch TV add for local PC super store
  2. Buy one, maybe two, magazines called something like PC Weekly but decide that they can't understand the jargon
  3. Go down to PC superstore and buy whatever it is the salesman is pitching
  4. Approach techie friend to sort out the mess
I'll admit that the techie friend is likely to be more aware of Dell's batery problems as he saw the picture when it was e-mailed around, but, as you can see, in my experience they only come and ask after they've handed over the big bucks. In this common (?) scenario the influence of the TV is far higher than the influence of the internet. Maybe Joe Shmoe is more internet minded your side of the pond.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | about 8 years ago | (#16008611)

I just find the cheapest emachine in the sunday paper. I have never been disappointed.

So what's the news (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | about 8 years ago | (#16007678)

What is so important about this? The internet helps people find information? Journalists cultravate sources in companies they cover? None of this is that newsworthy.

True power of the Dell (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007713)

Marketing: Michael, Some peasents in Singapore are on fire because of our shabby black noisy fanned boxes.

Dell: Give them free lithium ion batteries! Our fans are noisy. I knew I had the air condidtioner on too high.

Great - now the bloggers think they're fantastic (5, Insightful)

DarenN (411219) | about 8 years ago | (#16007719)

I'm really sick of these "bloggers are great" article. There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there. Nearly all of them are irrelevent crap. Some have evolved through effort and investment into almost proper news sites. Congratualtions to them. Now stop calling yourself blogs. You're news sites (because you don't just post unsubstanciated crap).

Face it folks, your "blogosphere" is a mob of people who believe anything that their favorite "blog aka news site" posts, and that is ANYTHING AT ALL at times, and repost it themselves, often not even bothering to change a single character. They have no power, and never will. It's essentially the same as the fat outraged bloke in the pub that never shuts up about what he read in The Sun, despite not ever checking facts, figures, or common sense. I wish people would stop glamorising this crap.

And I'd like to say one more time, to all those who DO use their brains, and use sources, and not fly off the handle (like the O'Reilly incident), thanks for the news.
To Slashdot I say: Check the stories.

End of Rant :)

Re:Great - now the bloggers think they're fantasti (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | about 8 years ago | (#16007822)

Face it folks, your "blogosphere" is a mob of people who believe anything that their favorite "blog aka news site" posts, and that is ANYTHING AT ALL at times, and repost it themselves, often not even bothering to change a single character. They have no power, and never will. It's essentially the same as the fat outraged bloke in the pub that never shuts up about what he read in The Sun, despite not ever checking facts, figures, or common sense. I wish people would stop glamorising this crap.

There will come a day when innuendo replaces fact, thanks to the rapidity with which things spread on the Internet. One blogger picks up on something, two more repeat it, and so forth and so on. Of course, like the game we all used to play in school, where someone whispered something to you, and you to the next person, invariably the original message becomes garbled. The Internet is just a large example of this, as the story gets repeated and tweaked with each iteration, as bloggers apply their own personal view to it. There comes a point where fact-checking is impossible, because the "facts" are no longer that, facts.

Re:Great - now the bloggers think they're fantasti (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 8 years ago | (#16008255)

There will come a day when innuendo replaces fact, thanks to the rapidity with which things spread on the Internet. One blogger picks up on something, two more repeat it, and so forth and so on.

This has always been true with any media.

You have those you trust, and those you don't. As with most fact-checking, it's not a good idea to search in the same media form for corroboration.

Eventually we will have news sites on the web that we trust -- the question is whether they will pick up on 'small' news stories. Once they do, you can bet that they'll properly fact-check almost all the time, since their reputation and livelihood depend upon it.

Re:Great - now the bloggers think they're fantasti (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 years ago | (#16008340)

You can apply the same rant to the magazine rack at Barnes & Noble.

99% of any source of information is going to be noise that isn't relevant to you even if it is of acceptable quality.

Re:Great - now the bloggers think they're fantasti (1)

isorox (205688) | about 8 years ago | (#16008527)

Face it folks, your "blogosphere" is a mob of people who believe anything that their favorite "blog aka news site" posts, and that is ANYTHING AT ALL at times, and repost it themselves, often not even bothering to change a single character.

Compare with traditional news media, that believe anything that their favourite news wire (AP, PA, Reuters) post, and reprint/broadcast it without bothering to change a single character.

Re:Great - now the bloggers think they're fantasti (1)

Televari (816374) | about 8 years ago | (#16009731)

Agreed.

Now this is a true /. Article (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16007770)

Unlike the previous article that was just posted to incite a flame war against Bush. This is a true /. article. Remember the slogan? "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters." This is supposed to be a tech site, not a political holy war site. /. posters, please remember that next time before you post another poltical article. Thanks.

Re:Now this is a true /. Article (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | about 8 years ago | (#16007928)

The last article may have incited a flame war against Bush, but the article was about the closing of research libraries, which should be something nerds would care about, I know the jocks won't care.

Re:Now this is a true /. Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16008052)

Are you 14? Nerds and Jocks? You forgot the preppies and stoners. What about the goths? Will they care? This is supposed to be a forum for intelligent discussion; at least, that's what I thought /. was about. Get past your stereo types and use your head. I was a so-called "jock" in highschool (I won't date myself by stating when I graduated), because I love to play football. But, I also happen to love math, physics, and education in general.

So am I a jerd or a nock? Does this have anything to do with the fact that the liability from these batteries may be Dell's at first blush, but you would be mistaken to think that this is really a black eye for Sony? Do you think that Sony won't step up to the plate to take the short-term hit in the pocket in order to keep customer confidence (customer defined as major companies such as Apple and Dell) in order to maintain their long term profitable contracts with their customers? Or am I just a dumb jock who doesn't care?

Survivor Man (2, Funny)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | about 8 years ago | (#16007774)

I'm waiting for an episode of Survivor Man where they give him a Dell laptop instead of a box of matches.

[beavis voice:] "Fire, Fire, Fire!!!"

Power of the Web (1)

Kozz (7764) | about 8 years ago | (#16007779)

A testament indeed to the power of the web. And the power of exploding batteries as satire fodder [bbspot.com] .

Dell vs Apple (5, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 8 years ago | (#16007790)

Didn't Apple just recall well over a million batteries for pretty much the same exact reason?

Why is it that when someone like Dell has a problem leading to a recall it's assumed they were doing something wrong. Either they're trying to cover up defects, or they're unresponsive to customers or everything they make is crap.

Why is it that when the same exact thing happens with Apple suddenly the apologists come out of the woodwork. The defect isn't Apple's fault first of all, and when Apple finally gets around to acknowledging the problem and recalls the product people insist that it proves they care about the customer.

Dell laptops come with defective Sony batteries: Dell is crap.
Apple laptops come with defective Sony batteries: It's all Sony's fault.

Dell recalls batteries: Dell would never have initiated the recall if it hadn't been for bloggers.
Apple recalls batteries: Behold Apple's benevolence.

Re:Dell vs Apple (1)

JerLasVegas (791093) | about 8 years ago | (#16007863)

Pretty soon Alienware will be crap lol

Re:Dell vs Apple (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | about 8 years ago | (#16007973)

Perhaps, after years of customer mistreatment, outsourced call centers, and obvious evidence of engineering to the lowest common denominator, people might have gotten the idea that Dell is evil, and point this out whenever Dell makes the slightest slip-up.

Re:Dell vs Apple (1)

not already in use (972294) | about 8 years ago | (#16008019)

I agree with you for the most part. There is a bit of a difference however. Dell's batteries actually had reports of starting fires. Apple's batteries would swell, and as far as I know never actually combusted, and as a result they recalled batteries in their pre-intel notebook line-up. Apple has also "silently" recalled batteries for their MacBook Pro lineup, not for heat issues but performance issues. Regardless, I see your point. I have not had any issues with the battery in my MBP, but I was pleased to see that I qualified for the recall, so I have a new battery coming my way.

Re:Dell vs Apple (2, Informative)

chrismsummers (629478) | about 8 years ago | (#16008064)

The batteries in Apples caught fire as well. Do a quick check for 'apple battery fires' on google and you will see several instances where the batteries in Apple laptops caught fire.

Re:Dell vs Apple (1)

Khuffie (818093) | about 8 years ago | (#16008036)

I'm quite interested about the summary. The article clearly states both Apple and Dell's issues, yet the summary and headline only mention Dell...

Re:Dell vs Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16008154)

Why is there an Apple bias on Slashdot? Its because Steve Jobs' sluts are all over this site, including the people that run it.

Re:Dell vs Apple (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 8 years ago | (#16008519)

Maybe that's a fair comment. But then you have to ask why there are so many Steve Jobs sluts and so few (any?) Dell sluts.

Re:Dell vs Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16008172)

It's really too bad you can't get more than a +5 Insightful for this.

Re:Dell vs Apple (1)

chelb (525884) | about 8 years ago | (#16008229)

"We Americans are a peculiar people. We are for the underdog, no matter how much of a dog he is." Happy Chandler

Re:Dell vs Apple (3, Insightful)

imikem (767509) | about 8 years ago | (#16008261)

Because the difference between the companies is pretty much as you stated, even though you were apparently trying to argue the opposite?

No I don't quite believe that, even though my experience with Dell in the past two years has been horrendous - little things like 100% failure on 200 or so corporate desktop PC hard drives, ~50% mobo failures on same (GX-270 if you want to know), multiple DOA laptops, server build quality into the toilet with idiotic case designs, crappified rack rails, reduction in drive bays, I can't go on without calling my rep to bitch more (or his boss, or whoever there, none of whom give a crap since my company doesn't buy 10000 at a time).

Contrast with Apple, from whom we purchased some lowly 12" iBook G4s for IT staff remote use (VPN, remote desktop, and Cisco console connections in emergency, with USB to serial adaptors). They've been trouble free, except mine, which gets treated pretty harshly, and had the HD give out after a year and change. I called, talked with a rep in less than 2 mins., gave them the scoop. They sent a shipping box overnight, I sent it to their repair facility, had it back the next day. And by the way, they replaced the mobo as well at that time for a problem with weak 802.11g reception, which I had vaguely noticed - it was good enough to use everywhere I use it. I hadn't even thought to mention it to them. They just did it.

So yes, I can vouch for a difference between the two. Apple is hardly perfect. They're just a lot better than Dell.

Anecdotal (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 years ago | (#16008560)

Well, since we're submitting anecdotal evidence, I have two Dell servers which have been running for 2 and 3 years straight without a single failure of any type. I have a laptop which recently had a mobo problem, and after calling in and getting a rep in under 2 minutes (yes, I have the corporate service, though I only have 4 employees), and after 15 minutes of trouble shooting (half of which was win boots), he authorized a replacement, and it arrived and was installed the next day at 10am. He also sent a replacement cover which I mentioned had some cosmetic damage, as well as a couple extra of the ubiquitous "pop off feet" Dell insists on using (I find epoxy works better than their PSA in keeping them in place).

 

Persecution syndrome (1)

Moraelin (679338) | about 8 years ago | (#16008452)

Because, basically:

- Apple is the underdog, holding onto a tiny percentage of a market dominated by Wintel machines

- Dell is the top dog, the biggest OEM in the Wintel arena

So, of course, Dell must be evil and crap just because it's the top dog. And conversely Apple must be lawful good and pure technical excellence just because it's the underdog.

Re:Dell vs Apple (1)

johnpaul191 (240105) | about 8 years ago | (#16011131)

nrrdy people can see that the problem was an issue with Sony's manufacturing. that has little effect on the headlines. basically you are upset with the media and how they are reporting news. yeah, it happens. if it was flaming iPods, i am sure Apple would have gotten more negative attention.

think about it:
1) Dell had to recall many times the number of batteries that Apple did. that just makes it a bigger issue. if Ford recalled 75,000,000 cars and GM recalled 100,000 for the same defective brake pads i am sure Ford would get the headlines. Dell was shipping the batteries for over two years. that's a LOT of machines for them.
2) you may be reading biased blogging sites?
3) Apple does not even use that type of battery in the MacBook/Pro. they now are using lithium-polymer, and not lithium-ion, for the laptops. (li-ion still in iPods though). maybe analysts like that?
4) in terms of fault, i am sure that can be argued forever, and we'll never know the true facts. yes, Sony made the batteries. at what point did Dell or Apple know the issue was serious and widespread enough to issue a recall. did Sony tie them up figuring out which models were at risk? did their own internal management tie up the recall hoping it would go away? did you read/see Fight Club? the whole part about car recalls and why they take so long to happen. yeah......
Apple spent years being dissed for "the flaming powerbook" thing from 1995, that was a battery issue that was resolved before any machines got out to consumers.
just for history/fun: http://www.lowendmac.com/pb2/5300.shtml [lowendmac.com]
5) if you do some poking online you will see that the Dell recall hot them at a time that Wall Street analysts have been unpleased with them about other issues, including customer service. the estimated $500 million recall is a bad thing for Dell and Sony in a biz sense. both stocks took a (temporary?) hit.
6) it sounds like there may be other manufacturers besides Apple and Dell that got the wonky batteries, but who knows if it will be so large scale.

One Man's Netroots Web Advocacy... (3, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 8 years ago | (#16007802)

...is another man's Mob Rule.

When the "blog-O-sphere" gets it wrong, will there be any mainstream media left that's not already been cyber-whipped and pixel-chastised enough who might call them on it?

The Guillotine has gone out of fashion, and been replaced by The Drudge Report. That still places civilization ahead.


I think...

On the bright side... (1)

Moraelin (679338) | about 8 years ago | (#16008577)

On the bright side, that's not what it happened. Sony was already recalling the batteries, Apple had already paved the way, and all that was left for Dell was the formality of asking people to ship back the batteries and forward them to Sony. In the end it's _Sony_'s recall, not Dell's, and Sony is paying all the expenses for it.

Dell is just an intermediary in that operation, and would have more to lose if they didn't take part. The choice being (A) recall the batteries at exactly 0 (ZERO) dollars own cost, and look good and caring in the process, and (B) refuse Sony's money and come out looking like a prick to your customers... Dell's choice was obvious. It didn't need the "blogosphere" to make that choice.

Noone really gives a fuck about the "blogosphere" at the moment, other than small groups of mutually-backpatting bloggers polishing each other's statue. They'll love taking credit for stuff like this, but it wasn't their doing. And more importantly, traditional media was never in any danger from them yet. Traditional media faces its own hurdles, but the blogosphere doesn't even come close to being a problem.

So to answer your question: yes, there'll be plenty of traditional media left. And on the bright side, chances are that "blogosphere" will still be all noise and no bit, so we won't need anyone (traditional media or someone else) to defend us from its mob rule.

Recall only when something blows up! (1)

MD_Willington (967885) | about 8 years ago | (#16007825)

Sure recall the laptop batteries, but they do nothing for GX270 & 280 owners that have machines stuffed with a failing batch of Nichicon capacitors produced in 2003... The Nichicons produced before and after that batch are perfectly fine, just that one batch from is bad.

http://www.badcaps.net/forum/attachment.php?attach mentid=1553&stc=1 [badcaps.net]

http://www.badcaps.net/forum/attachment.php?attach mentid=431 [badcaps.net]

Dell is doing something about the problem, but for the most part, a lot of people are not even aware of the problem...

http://news.com.com/Bulging+capacit...742.html?tag =nl [com.com]

http://news.com.com/Dells+third-qua...630.html?tag =nl [com.com]

http://news.com.com/Dells+dilemma--...26477&subj=n ews [com.com]

Re:Recall only when something blows up! (1)

Userfaulty (917263) | about 8 years ago | (#16010364)

A while ago the site that I am working at had the same problem. We have over 1800+ Dell GX270's and 280's. When we first discovered the problem Dell tech support didn't know who we were and treated us pretty crappy. Once Dell found out that we had such a large contract with them, they sent a team of 10 contractors and 2000+ motherboards and replaced every single motherboard in the building regardless of which capacitors were on the boards. Of the 1800+ motherboards I would say that we had maybe 1300+ that had the Nichicons. I can't stand Dell's tech support and the only thing that lets me stand the company as a whole is that they gave us Dell Certified Tech status and can order parts off their website without having to go through tech support.

TheInquirer.net is trusted because they're honest (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 8 years ago | (#16007827)

The flaming Dell battery story was first published by theinquirer.net. People believed it because the Inquirer hasn't been an ad whore like most of the other online tech news sites have.

Watchdog (2, Insightful)

LordSnooty (853791) | about 8 years ago | (#16007833)

There's a TV programme in the UK called Watchdog. They complain to companies on behalf of customers, who have not been able to get the service they expect. The amalgamation of many complaints plus the visible negative publicity usually gets the company to change their position.

How is this any different? It's not a win for the web at all, but a win for people who complain en masse, and a win for negative publicity shocking a company into action.

Apparently Dell were "EMBRACING THE BLOGOSPHERE". Yet this only happened after the recall was announced.

In Old Days - Consumer Reports Saved Our Ass (1)

cannuck (859025) | about 8 years ago | (#16007887)

Back in the "old" days B.I. (Before Internet) the Consumers Union - through it's publication Consumer Reports magazine - was the sole activist organization in North America that acted on behalf of consumers. That's where folks found out if a specific car would roll over in a normal emergency turn of the steering wheel - and kill those in the car. Of course there was a time lag of up to three months before the info. came out in the magazine.

The internet naturally speeds up the process (three cheeers); but at the same time, the amount of disinformation on the internet is gigantic - my guess is that 98% of all info. on the internet is either totally wrong or is so bias on one level or another - that it is useless.

Been looking at one site that is supposedly set up to help people invest "wisely". The number of investing urban myths posted about investing by "experts" in the forums is constant. And of course if one posts contrary opinions (just like in Slashdot, or Wikipedia) - the attacks are instant, and never ending

Which is why 4,000,000 a month people still go and buy Consumer Reports magazine. Yes I know CR has a web site - but it's primarily a marketing tool

Win for me, too. (1)

djflipstarx (924242) | about 8 years ago | (#16007937)

My old battery's getting worn out, I could use a free replacement. W00t. Now let's hope the old one doesn't go kaboom and I should be fine. Will karma bite me in the butt for taking advantage of this?

:rolleyes: (1)

Have Blue (616) | about 8 years ago | (#16007960)

I thought the Howard Dean fiasco had finally gotten rid of this "true power of the web" crap.

I order you to breathe! Good! Now, keep breathing for the rest of your life! You are obeying my every command! Witness my magical mind control powers!

Win for panic - not the web (2, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 8 years ago | (#16008046)

The risk to any individual from one of these batteries was infinitesimal. All the web did was sow panic by allowing a small number of isolated stories to become replicated many times over on the web giving the impression that these laptop batteries were dangerous. If driving were made 10 times safer it would still be far riskier than owning one of these batteries and if the safety standards applied to these batteries were applied to cars we'd be driving around at 10mph with a runner in front of our cars waving a flag to warn people that we're coming.

If there's one thing that's missing in our modern hi-tech society it's modern hi-tech assessment of risk.

Why recall the batteries? (1)

rueger (210566) | about 8 years ago | (#16008134)

CTV reporter David Akin blogs a comment that suggests that the real reason for the sudden battery recall was:

Recalls never happen without a sound business case for them. It's a risk management strategy. ...

My guess, and this is only a guess, is that this was prompted by the recent ban of laptops in carry-on luggage on aircraft. With a laptop in the cabin, if it's battery caught fire, there would be humans (and fire extinguishers) nearby to put out the fire. With laptops being carried in baggage, the risk of 20 ... in 6 million batteries catching fire becomes only 1 in 300,000.

Given that there are about 30,000 commercial flights per day in the US (and about 5,000 airborne at any given moment), it's not too far fetched to assume that eventually an unattended battery fire will bring down a commercial airliner. Or two. That's the risk that exceeds $100,000,000 (cost of replacing the batteries) and was what prompted (I think) the recall.

Ten or twenty people having laptops catch fire isn't enough to motivate Apple or Dell or Sony, but the prospect of a 747 going up in flames is.

Where else could this help? (0, Offtopic)

CustSerAssassin (883923) | about 8 years ago | (#16008155)

Start a forum about how much taxes we pay and maybe something will be done about that too!

Without an INTERWEB it would have been DAYS later (2, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | about 8 years ago | (#16008161)

Without the might power of flaming Youtube videos, I am sure the recall would have taken DAY later.

I am sure that UPS and the USPS, for example, don't give a fig if a plane with some laptops on it catches on fire every now and then. They are huge evil corporations! Keep it up INTERWEB! SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER!

Here is what I would like to know... (2, Interesting)

cr0sh (43134) | about 8 years ago | (#16008200)

How is it that we netizens seemingly can effect change on an issue like this, which in the grand scheme of things is pretty minor, but are at the same time seemingly unable to effect changes on issues which really effect us (bad laws governing the internet, DRM, etc)? It seems like all we care about are things which cause problems with our material goods, rather than things which can potentially effect us personally...

Re:Here is what I would like to know... (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | about 8 years ago | (#16010072)

Because DRM does not have "video at 11".

Hmm, come to think about it, with DRM there might not BE video at 11....

mo3 up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16008219)

Into a sling unless Future. The hand for the record, I clearly. There other members in that 5orded, the bottoms butt Become like they mistake of electing [nero-online.org] Lubrication. You Volatile world of endless conflict AASOCIATION OF may be hurting population as well fact came into clean for the next base for FreeBSD is the ultimate were taken over out of business they're gone Came

obligatory reference (1)

Thanatos69 (993924) | about 8 years ago | (#16008224)

A new laptop built by my company is shipped to a user. The battery overheats and the laptop catches on fire burning a persons lap and manly goodness. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of laptops in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.

What company do you work for?

A big one.

Re:obligatory reference (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 8 years ago | (#16008914)

Yeah, but Dell being able to convince/have Sony to pay for the recall sure changes the cost of a recall from Dell's POV.

I'm sure all the web stuff gave Dell enough ammo to convince Sony, if Sony weren't convinced by then.

Dell was probably working on it long ago. (1)

prelelat (201821) | about 8 years ago | (#16008236)

on June 29th 2006 Dell said that they were looking into the burning laptop(according to engadget). This was most likely not because the web told them to. Then about 20 days later on July 18th I believe Dell was no longer selling the batteries. the time in between was probably in prep for a full recall and the time before that was probably going through sony and legal. First you have to get the stock in to cover over 4 million computers as well as sustain your current stock(your not wanting to shut down production because your using your current battery supply to replace bad ones). Then you have to setup the proceedure for the return and then setup the website and setup a call center or train your current ones to take the calls. Then you have to setup PR and all that before you let it go into the wild. This is most likely a long process going through lawyers and making sure you talk to sony which would also be a delay. I'm sure that Dell had this thought out long before the engadget and other sites jumped on it. I think they might have hurried the processes along a little more, but I don't think that would fit into their plan of attack on the issue.

Prior Art (3, Interesting)

ZedNaught (533388) | about 8 years ago | (#16008445)

My guess is that the Business Week author is too young to remember how a 1994 post by Terje Mathisen to comp.sys.intel on USENET ultimately resulted in the recall of millions of Intel Pentium chips for the fdiv bug.

So all we have to do... (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | about 8 years ago | (#16008643)

So all we have to do, if we want Linux to overtake Windows in market share, is take a flame thrower to a shrinkwrapped Windows store shelf display box, and then tell people that Windows catches on fire. Everyone will get scared and switch.

if bring Dell and Apple batteries on plane (1)

flyerzeng (998894) | about 8 years ago | (#16008746)

what would happen?

Re:if bring Dell and Apple batteries on plane (1)

solitas (916005) | about 8 years ago | (#16010236)

>> If bring Dell and Apple batteries on [a] plane what would happen?

Sammy Jackson would probably want to star in the m-f movie, maybe?

what about the torched pickup truck? (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | about 8 years ago | (#16008784)

Is Dell or Sony going to replace that classic pickup truck
that got burned up by an exploding battery?
(not to mention the lap top computer).

I'm a bit weary of anti-dell autoresponse (1)

CFD339 (795926) | about 8 years ago | (#16008824)

Here's the thing -- Dell has always been very good to me. I don't work for them and have no skin in the game in that respect. I've built my own PC's and servers since the late 1980's but when it comes to laptops I prefer to buy prebuilt rather than trying the new kit products available.

I've had four Dell laptops, and all have been among the most reliable machines I've owned. I've used their support very very rarely -- but hell, I don't expect any company to provide a support tech up to my own technical abilities. I have 20 years experience and earn more than five times when they can affort to pay for support techs. I just want a support tech to tell me if what I've got is a known problem or if they're seeing it with other people.

My most recent purchase is a Latitude d820 which I am frankly thrilled with in terms of performance, bulk, weight, durability, style, and battery life. I travel with it, and have already dropped it once while watching a dvd on an airplane and as expected from this machine, the magnesium case wasn't even scuffed.

Sure, Dell has cheaped out on support for consumers. So has everyone else. Their choice to stay in bed too long with pure Intel processors and no AMD was a mistake and it cost them -- as it should have. They are, however, in my experience a responsible company and I just don't buy that they'd have left dangerous batteries in place once they were aware of the problem.

The publicity was excellent about getting attention to the problem -- but I don't believe it forced anyone to do anything they wouldn't otherwise have done.

New Alienware tagline (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 8 years ago | (#16008892)

"In cyberspace, anyone can hear you scream"

A possible cause... (1)

wuie (884711) | about 8 years ago | (#16009673)

could also be the Sony Vaio laptop that caught fire and exploded [go4go.net] at the 2006 U.S. Go Congress. In fact, the Dell recall happened 24 hours after the laptop explosion. Could this be more than a coincidence?

Re:A possible cause... (1)

wuie (884711) | about 8 years ago | (#16009700)

Here's [usgo.org] a better link for that story, directly from the AGA (American Go Association) Journal itself.

Fight Club, natch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16009975)

Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
Business woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?
Narrator: You wouldn't believe.
Business woman on plane: Which car company do you work for?
Narrator: A major one.
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