The 19th May 2006 is a distant memory these days, but that was the day when Dell announced that it would sell AMD-based systems
, finally bringing an end to the system builder's exclusive partnership with Intel.
On Friday, news that Dell had decided to dump AMD-based systems from its website spread quickly after an odd notice appeared on Dell's website when you searched for "AMD". The notice, which has since been taken down, said that Dell's AMD-based systems were no longer available online and that they could now only be purchased via Dell's retail partners.
Indeed, AMD-based Dell systems were still available to purchase online (and still are
today for that matter) and the company has clarified its plans.
While it's not clear why
the message appeared on Dell's site, the system builder said that it is still committed to selling AMD systems for business customers on its online store, even though all of the products listed above are consumer products.
was told that the system builder will no longer be selling AMD-powered consumer machines online, with exceptions made for the Inspiron D531 and Inspiron 1501 notebook or, if you're in the UK, the Inspiron 1721 notebook.
"Currently the majority of our consumer AMD-based systems are available through our retail partners such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Staples, and through telephone sales,
" a spokesperson told Reg Hardware
When questioned about its online strategy for AMD-based systems, the spokesperson said that "Dell sells a full range of AMD-powered business notebooks, desktops and servers online.
The situation means that consumers wanting to buy AMD-powered systems have to go to retail unless they want to buy one of the aforementioned machines, while business customers can still order a full range of Latitude, Vostro and Optiplex systems at Dell's online store.
Dell wouldn't go into details on why it believes consumers wouldn't want to buy AMD-based systems online, but it was still adamant that it is offering the maximum amount of choice to its customers. "We are committed to the AMD product lines as a long-term partner to provide the maximum choice for our customers,
" the spokesperson added. Surely preventing consumers from buying a full range of AMD-based systems online is giving the consumer anything but choice?
That said, there is another way to look at this – Dell hasn't been in retail for very long (since May according to Engadget's story), and it is still trying to figure out how best to satisfy supply and demand for its AMD-powered PCs—both online and at retail. With a choice of machines available at retail, a consumer might be more inclined to choose an AMD system, while online they're just greeted with a bunch of configuration options. The benefit here is that the retailers gain because they're selling products that customer cannot buy from the Dell website – arguably the retailer's biggest competition for selling Dell products.
Do you think Dell's decision is the right one, or is it just a case of the company stifling choice for the consumer who shops online? Discuss in the forums