We Don't Need No... (10/27/99)

Ah-- the student has surpassed the master, grasshopper. We all know that for the last several months, Mike Dell's tacitly recanted his infamously catty comment about Apple ("If I were running the company, I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders") by seemingly trying to make his company as much like Steve's as possible. Dell's got iMac-inspired "cool" consumer PCs on the way, consumer-targeted laptops in two colors available now, and even offers wireless networking options on its laptops. Heck, Dell even issued an earnings warning for its most recent financial quarter, reminiscent of Apple's scene-stealing buzzkill from a couple of months ago. It's almost spooky. We hear that Mike's up for the title role in the upcoming remake of All About Eve, and if the studio can't sign Steve Jobs to play Margo Channing, we understand that Noah Wyle is very interested.

In fact, Dell's emulation of Apple is now so complete, the Educational Computing crown appears to have changed hands-- er, heads. According to a Reuters story, assuming that Dataquest's numbers can be believed, Apple's longheld position as the number one computer seller to the education market has reverted to Mike's minions. That's right; when it comes to educational sales, Apple finally lost its bragging rights in the first quarter of this year, when Dell beat out Apple's numbers by a full five percent based on unit shipments. Worse yet, Dell maintained that five-percent lead throughout the second quarter, so it wasn't just a one-time fluke. Ye gods-- Dell supplanting Apple in our nation's schools? We haven't heard anything quite so disturbing since faithful viewer Barry Hamill pointed out William Shatner's rendition of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds."

This revelation comes hot on the heels of the news that Dell also recently overtook the beleaguered Compaq to become the top seller of personal computers in the U.S. overall. We don't think Compaq should be all that worried about Dell, though-- after all, becoming the number one seller of PCs isn't a particularly Apple-like thing to do, and we wouldn't be terribly surprised if Mike Dell's rampant Steve Jobs obsession soon leads him to force Dell's overall market share down into the 10% range. And as for Apple taking the silver in the education race, there's every chance that the new iMacs and the iBooks may restore the company to gold status in coming quarters. Keep your fingers crossed-- the future of the world is at stake.

SceneLink (1872)
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The above scene was taken from the 10/27/99 episode:

October 27, 1999: Dell's getting just a little bit too much like Apple, as our heroes are bumped into second place in educational sales. Meanwhile, Apple may be shifting most or all of its sales to the Apple Store-- where does that leave the resellers? And even though some pre-orders for iBooks haven't even been filled yet, some people are already talking about Next Year's Model...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1873: So Long, Suckers... (10/27/99)   While we've been talking a lot about how Dell's copying Apple, it's worth noting that now Apple's copying Dell-- or at least that's what the rumors say. Not that a bit of Dell emulation is anything new to Steve and the gang...

  • 1874: Ask The Magic 8-Ball (10/27/99)   Well, how about that... they're barely on the shelves, yet, and people are already talking about the Next Big Thing. Not a day after we wished for a Graphite iBook Special Edition, rumors have surfaced that the iBook rev...

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