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Wanted Dead or Alive: Dell Offers US$100 Bounty On iPods

Wanted Dead or Alive: Dell Offers US$100 Bounty On iPods

by , 6:15 PM EDT, June 30th, 2004

Dell wants your iPod, and it's willing to pay you cold, hard cash for it. Dell is offering what amounts to a trade-in program designed to entice iPod owners to go Dell. The company is offering a US$100 rebate to people who buy a 15 GB Dell DJ music player and trade in their 15 GB iPods. Dell's verbiage is specifically aimed at users whose iPod batteries are expiring. From Dell's Web site:

Get a DJ15 for only $99 after $100 mail in rebate and submission of your old iPod ($199 before rebate)!

Is your iPod battery starting to fade? Before you pay for a replacement battery for your same old device, consider upgrading to a brand new Dell 15GB1 DJ with MORE THAN DOUBLE the battery life (as of 06/30/04; check Web sites for current information) for just $99 after $100 mail-in rebate ($199 before rebate).

The rebate works as follows. You must first order a 15 GB Dell DJ. Once you get the Dell DJ, Dell customers will have to fill out a rebate form, and send that, along with their 15 GB iPod, to Dell. Dell's site also notes that the Dell DJ must be ordered through the rebate information page. You can find more information at Dell's Site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This is a clever marketing ploy by Dell, at least in one way: It will bring Dell a lot of publicity that it would not otherwise get. From that standpoint, it's very savvy. We don't expect many people to take up the company up on the offer, however.

Neither does Tim Deal, an analyst with Technology Business Research. He told CNet News that the iPod "is not just about the hardware. It's about the entire experience. Apple still offers the best integrated experience, from using the iTunes music store and application to the (iPod) hardware. It's easy to use."

Preach on, Brother Deal.

Above and beyond that, however, is the idea of converting one's music collection from AAC (where applicable), which is likely an intimidating barrier to entry for many users. Also, you can't use iTunes with the Dell DJ, and iTunes, and the iTunes Music Store, has been a hit with Windows users. Chalk one up for Apple's strategy of tying the iPod and iTunes together.

There's an even more practical barrier, too, and that's the fact that 15 GB iPods retain their value very well. Checking eBay, we found used 15 GB iPods to be going for between US$200 - US$250, that's more than a new Dell DJ. Would you rather sell your iPod for US$200, or get US$100 back from Dell for it? While the rebate means you can get your Dell DJ for US$100, one could spend that same money on an replacement iPod battery and still have the better user experience.

All that said, we will iterate the fact that this is a clever marketing campaign for Dell from the standpoint of getting attention, and it's most likely that's all Dell intended in the first place.

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