Did Your Parents Buy A Dell PC A Few Years Ago? Your Boss? Your School?

We know you wouldn't buy an off-the-shelf Dell PC. You have gaming needs. But others aren't as savvy as you. They bought off-the-shelf Dell PCs. And many of those people got shafted.

Some documents related to a lawsuit against Dell have recently been unsealed, and reveal the company may have knowingly shipped faulty computers to bulk customers (like small businesses, schools and even major retail chains) over a number of years.

How many computers? Over 11 million computers.

The faults were down to dodgy motherboard capacitors, and while this was an issue that plagued many companies - including Hewlett-Packard and Apple - those were limited problems affecting only a small number of models.

Dell, on the other hand, found that 11.8 million computers it sold between 2003 and 2005 were busted because of this flaw. In its defence, the company maintains that it did not know about the problems before the computers were sold (and that this does not affect any current units), but North Carolina firm Advanced Internet Technologies claim otherwise, and are after $40 million in damages.

"The funny thing was that every one of them went bad at the same time," says Greg Barry, of PointSolve, one of many companies burnt by the broken PCs. "It's unheard-of, but Dell didn't seem to recognize this as a problem at the time."

Before you ask, the faulty components affected Dell's Optiplex desktop computers, and not any Alienware gaming PCs (Dell did not acquire the gaming specialists until 2006).

Suit Over Faulty Computers Highlights Dell's Decline [New York Times]