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February 23, 2004

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Robert  Paterson

I am sure that Deep Support is a critical idea. Maybe the current model of Dell support being only derived from Dell is where the problem? It's just too costly. What if Dell looked at eBay and their use of community? If Dell support was designed as a distributed peer to peer network maybe it would work better for all?

David Foster

"Battling the price war" isn't *always* a bad solution. If you are in an industry that is susceptible to very strong economies of scale, it may be the right thing to do--to get yourself to a scale point which it will be very difficult for others to match. But in PCs, although some economies of scale certainly exist, I doubt if they are very strong in comparison to some other industries.

The problem with differentiated customer service as a strategy in the PC industry is that there are so many different things that can go wrong, and it's not usually clear to the customer--even the fairly technical customer--who or what is at fault. So any attempt to provide really outstanding customer service is likely to be very, very expensive.

Overall, I think the PC business is just a really tough business to make money in over the long term.

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