Dude, You’re Getting an Alien

Dell has bought Alienware, a niche computer maker that sells high-end machines optimized for gaming. At a glance, Dell’s strategy seems to be to control a competitor, considering Dell has started selling its own expensive gaming PCs. But, Dell claims that Alienware will be left intact, without changing anything, the name, the brand, or the components.

One can then guess the strategy is to diversify its offerings, selling machines that use AMD processors rather than Intel’s. And to sell machines that appeal to a different market, young gamers, as compared to its mainstream computers. I think this is why Dell is not integrating Alienware into the organization. Alienware needs to stay autonomous, needs to be authentic, to appeal to its niche audience. If the Dell name was slapped on Alienware’s colorful machines, many fans would cry, “Sell out!” I am sure some will, anyway.

With this move Dell is extending its reach to a new market, without alienating that market as the company moves into it. And Dell is doing so without the expense of creating a new product, branding a new product, or marketing it. It is expansion with little risk. But will the move work? Will Alienware’s core audience remain with it?