Columnist: Apple's Good Will vs. Dell's Lack of Innovation

David Morgenstern offered an interesting contrast on the PC industry Friday, looking at the good will that Apple has built up with its customers over the years as compared to Dellis lack of innovation and support. Writing for eWeek, Mr. Morgenstern said that while growing complaints about MacBook heat and restart issues might be a headache for Apple right now, itis better than where Dell is, where customers have lost faith in that companyis ability to innovate or offer quality support across its entire product line.

"Apple has much good will in the bank," wrote Mr. Morgenstern in a spot-on overview of Apple and its customers. "Ironically, its great reputation may be fueling the reaction by customers. They expect quality and demand quality. And when itis not delivered, they howl. And Apple has marketed itself as the warm, cuddly company thatis better than PC makers. Its customers have internalized that message, leading to feelings of betrayal when something really goes very wrong."

"Now, letis look at Dell," he added. "Its customers are complaining about lack of innovation and poor support. At last. The company kept cutting costs until there was no innovation and quality left."

The latter is a point The Mac Observer has emphasized for many years when it comes to Dell. This is particularly true when we have covered the financial side of the industry. Two companies have consistently made money in the past few years on sales of computers, Apple and Dell. Apple has done so with innovation, R&D, style, design, and by charging a price that provides enough margin to support that innovation.

Dell, on the other hand, has earned its profits by innovating and cutting back on the manufacturing process side of the industry. The company has also saved a mint by moving its support structure off-shore, and Mr. Morgenstern said that these issues have reached a point of having a deleterious effect on Dell, its brand, and its customers, and that it has a "deep, deep hole" out of which to climb.

This is an opinion we havenit often encountered outside the Mac Web. For many years, most pundits, analysts, journalists, and other commentators have criticized Appleis business model, while praising Dellis toaster-manufacturing approach to cutting prices. Mr. Morgensternis column doesnit necessarily represent the wider world as a whole, but it is certainly a part of Appleis wider resurgence in recent years.