Slanted Report Touts Dell's Assault On Apple's Education Sales

by , 4:20 PM EDT, April 4th, 2001

Bloomberg has published a "report" on Dell's assault on Apple's education sales. The education market has long been a strong point for Apple, and the company has held the #1 spot until this late last year. At that time, Dell overtook Apple when Apple poorly executed a transition in its education sales structure. The Bloomberg report includes a couple of quotes from Dell co-President Kevin Rollins:

Dell, which uses Intel's chips and Microsoft's Windows operating system, is confident it will retain the lead over Apple among U.S. schools because teachers want to train students on systems they'll most likely use when they go to work, Rollins said.

"Apple has a tough road," Rollins said. "When these organizations switch to an Intel platform, they don't go back. You just don't see people switch back to an Apple platform after they have left. More and more are migrating to Intel, and Dell is winning the lion's share of that business."

Apple executives weren't immediately available to comment.

The article also mentions some of Apple's recent efforts to shore up their education efforts. There is more information in the full article.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This is a remarkably poor piece of journalism. The basic facts are right, but the piece reads like a Dell press release or sales brochure. Apple has lost the #1 spot, and they did so due to some extremely poor decisions like changing up the sales channel in the middle of the busiest education buying season. That was stupid, plain and simple, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs admitted as much when he said "we dropped the ball" on that.

Including those comments from Kevin Rollins without including counter statements from Apple, however, or at least supporting or counter arguments from a non-biased third party, is just plain bad journalism at best, and irresponsible at worst. All of the facts and information included in this piece came from a Dell spokesperson (co-President Kevin Rollins).

The flip side is that Apple does a miserable job working with journalists, especially with the Web. We do not find it at all unusual that "Apple executives weren't immediately available to comment." Apple PR is seldom responsive to the media and seem to treat all journalists, except Walt Mossberg, as the enemy. The company has simply not learned that if you don't offer a carrot, you have nothing to take away, and resents the kinds of questions that journalists have. That said, a third party should have been used to confirm the statements of Mr. Rollins before they were presented as fact, whether or not Apple commented.

Take Apple out of it, and make it about the auto industry. Would Bloomberg have printed a story about a GM executive saying that Chrysler faced an uphill battle in the minivan market because GM's transmission technology was so superior? That's just not the kind of quotes that belong in a news piece unless it comes from a (theoretically) unbiased third party source, like an analyst.

Now, let's get into this ridiculous argument that many people do make, and Dell is (rightfully so) exploiting That argument is that people want their kids to work with the same OS at school that they will at work. The first problem with that is that our school are not trade schools. You go to school in the US to be educated, not to be trained for a job. There are many who argue that we should, in fact, turn our education system into a trade school system (many other countries do this), but that is not what we have today. The second problem with that is that KIDS WILL NOT BE USING THE SAME OS IN THEIR JOBS AS THEY DO IN SCHOOL NO MATTER WHO MAKES IT! Operating systems change continuously, and skills used in one can be used in another. A child isn't likely to even use the same OS in high school that he/she used in middle school, let alone the jump from school to work! Again, for Bloomberg to include that kind of drivel from one company's co-President about another company is irresponsible. For shame, Bloomberg!