Dell Buying Alienware: The Gamers' Response

| About: Dell Inc. (DELL)

There is a sense of nervousness among the gaming constituency regarding the 'Old Establishment' Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) acquisition of Alienware, and what it will mean for the gaming customer. As written in ZDNet:

"I still think it's a bad idea, and a bad fit," said Stephen Baker, an analyst with NPD Techworld. Alienware's customers buy from that company in part because of its image as a technology-driven company that understands the needs of gamers, while Dell is viewed by those customers as a stodgy corporate supplier.

Even though Gonzalez said Alienware will operate separately and not promote Dell on its site, "Alienware customers are smart enough to understand" that Dell will own the company, Baker said.

If blogsphere is an indicator, Dell/Alienware have cause for worry: an unscientific quick survey of postings on the subject shows that the lion's share of posts deal with the negative cultural implications for Alienware. There's a lot of emotion here. Some samples:

StartupFutures: "It’s a strange match for a few reasons though: Alienware has a really strong brand that enjoys a lot of loyalty from its users and it handles service in a manner quite unlike most other vendors, whereas Dell’s reputation for service has taken some hits lately."

Dan Keenan: "It's Official. Dell is aquiring Alienware. Meanwhile, Millions of games worldwide are crying... Including Myself. Sniffle Sniffle. You can be sure that we will be talking about this on the Podcast, What's up in Technology. I'm going to try and control my crying."

EncoreOpus (in a post entitled 'Dell to Perform Alienware Autopsy'): "I used to be a big Dell fan but after a month long saga of atrocious customer service and their inability to support their products I have a major beef, I have pages and pages of notes talking about their pathetic customer service... So it makes me sad to see the announcement that they will be acquiring Alienware and melding them into the logistics giant and customer service nightmare that has become Dell."

The Weekly View: "As long as Dell's influence is kept to a minimum this might be ok but if Alienware starts their Customer Support practices it'll get ugly real fast."

● Kevin Whited in a comment on Techblog: "Alienware will inevitably become more like Dell, however much Dell protests otherwise. And if my experience with Dell customer service is any indicator... that's not going to make Alienware fans very happy."

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