Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Automobilising the PC buying experience...

Author:Nick Sweeney
Posted:8/27/1999; 4:15:21 AM
Topic:Automobilising the PC buying experience...
Msg #:10080
Prev/Next:10079 / 10081

Imagine if cars worked this way

I would have posted something similar last night, had sleep-dep not kicked in ;) There's been a discussion locally on what PC makers has to learn from the car industry, in terms of sales practice and the quality of product that they provide.

Someone made the point that we're at a stage which approximates to the early era of assembly-line automobiles, and that we're facing all the problems that car buyers in the 1920s had to deal with. There's no standard operating interface (early Fords had foot-pedal gears); there's no consistency of product, there's very little come-back if something goes wrong. You're expected to know how to get into the workings of the machine to fix things.

You'd think that the PC clone vendors would learn from history, but perhaps they simply have to go through the same stage of evolution.

It's an interesting debating point: what if computers were sold like cars? After all, an automobile is just as complex a piece of kit as a PC, and yet the frustrations associated with car ownership are of a very different kind to those suffered by PC owners.

And yet that makes me think of the worst aspects of the car-buying experience: the commission-driven sales-staff; the red tape; the general atmosphere of the experience. What if you could buy a car as you do a Dell PC?

Sir Clive Sinclair (the inventor of the most popular British 8-bit machines in the 1980s) has said that he thinks there's something fundamentally wrong-headed about the modular way in which PCs are built: what you gain in upgradeability, you lose in performance and reliability. We're still in the era of the kit-car.

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