Miami (FL) – Confirming the news thatTG Daily heard two weeks ago, Dell Corporation has acquired independent, maverick, top-tier PC manufacturer Alienware, for an undisclosed sum. The company will become a wholly-owned Dell subsidiary, and will continue to produce systems under its own brand and its current management.
Rather than produce a plastic press release, Alienware CEO Nelson Gonzalez explained his decision in what, for any other company, would be an unprecedented, personal letter to his customers, posted to Alienware’s Web site today. “Since 1996 when Alex Aguila and I co-founded Alienware on not much more than a dream and a personal credit loan of $10,000,” Gonzalez writes, “no other business has had the inspirational impact on our organization from a business model and efficiencies standpoint than Dell.” He pointed to the synergies between the two companies, including their parallel commitments to the direct sales business model.
Perhaps most importantly, Gonzalez stated the Alienware brand and business methodology are not going away. “”I have learned one vital thing that is the basis of our success: the Alienware brand is everything. In the minds of our customers, the Alienware brand immediately connotes coolness, style, unbridled raw performance and bleeding-edge innovation. People like us because we’re edgy, trendy and, at times, irreverent. Alienware product designs are certainly not traditional and conventional. In short, we’re not your father’s PC company and our customers know that.”
Wouldn’t the Dell acquisition dilute the edginess and uniqueness of the Alienware brand? Gonzalez insists no, explaining that the only way a Dell acquisition would make sense to Dell is if it kept Alienware intact. His implication is that this isn’t the buyout of a competitor, because Dell hasn’t really been one up to now.
But it could conceivably have become one, as Dell’s announcement today of its super-premium Renegade system, with a quad-SLI board, Ageia PhysX processor, and nearly $10,000 price tag made clear. Not even Alienware systems themselves top out at that price range.
Yet the acquisition announcement might not have come at a worse time for these two premium systems builders, as the operating system that was slated to redefine the premium computing experience, Windows Vista, slips out of the holiday sales season, and perhaps beyond. Dell declined extensive comment today on the Vista delay announcement, other than to say it’s looking forward to Vista whenever it does ship. Quite possibly, Dell could have been relying on brisk holiday sales to help it recoup the undisclosed cost it paid for Alienware – sales which have now been almost completely jeopardized.