Dell Has a New Crisis

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    In the past couple of weeks Dell has been the focus of a newly revealed crisis as a recently-unsealed 2007 lawsuit charging the company with knowingly selling millions of faulty computers made headlines. PC Magazine has the details:

    Advanced Internet Technologies (AIT) sued Dell in 2007 over charges that Dell sold AIT more than 2,000 OptiPlex desktops in 2003 and 2004, despite knowing that there were significant problems with the devices.

    Dell on Wednesday dismissed the issue as “old news” and said that the problem originated with a capacitor manufacturer, not with Dell.

    Dell “knew long before AIT’s purchase of the Dell OptiPlex computers that it had significant problems with the Dell OptiPlex computers, including but not limited to, the motherboard, power supply, and the CPU fan failures that caused overheating, crashes, and lost data from these computers,” AIT wrote in its original complaint.

    For the time being, Dell’s crisis management strategy is holding strong as it focuses on redirecting blame to the manufacturer of the capacitor, a part of the computer’s internals, and communicating its dedication to customers and quality. Let’s see if AIT can “out-message” them in the long run.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]