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Fake Steve Jobs: Dell isn’t another Apple

With all the comedy and election stuff he writes, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Fake Steve Jobs is an excellent observer of the IT industry. This post is excellent: in response to an article suggesting Dell can bounce back just like Apple did, he pinpoints the things that made Dell successful and explains why they’re no longer relevant.

The other PC makers knew they were caught in an abusive relationship with their channel but it took them a decade or so to unwind the old relationships and sell direct like Dell did. Game-changer here was the Internet which made it easy for anyone to set up their own Web store and build direct relationships with customers. Dell’s advantage got erased.

[squeezing suppliers]… Trouble with this “innovation” is that the advantages it creates are fleeting. What wiped this one out was a little place called China. Have you heard of it?

PCs are, of course, a commodity business – so to stand out, you need to be better than everybody else. As FSJ writes:

To sustain an edge in any market you must make better products than your competitors, consistently, over and over and over again. Just making the same products as everyone else but taking a little friction out of the system can give you an advantage, but only a temporary one.