Dell begins dismantling direct sales ethos

31 May 2007

Dell, known for cutting out the middleman by selling to customers directly from its website, has announced plans to begin selling through US retail giant Walmart.

Michael Dell, CEO of Dell, said this move away from direct sales was part of plans to diversify its current business model.

Dell said it will start offering certain models through a total of 3,500 Wal-Marts and Walmart-owned Sam’s Clubs, an electronic retail store, in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico in the next three weeks.

Indeed, in recent weeks Dell has been shaking up its well-established modus operandi by introducing Ubuntu, an open source competitor to Microsoft Windows, to selected models, the XPS 410n and DimensionTM E520n desktops and the Inspiron E1505n notebook.

Critics have pointed out, however, that Dell is not selling these machines for less than the equivalent ones running Microsoft Windows, despite that fact that the Ubuntu OS is available separately free of charge.

Dell’s changing business model comes in the wake of recent loss of sales due to HP’s competitive pricing, as well as the recent lawsuit by New York Attorney General over poor-quality customer services.

In related news, Dell Ireland in conjunction with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and WEEE Ireland will host a free recycling event on 16 June next. The event will cater not only for old PCs but also discarded domestic appliances.

By Marie Boran