Sony is also offering other incentives, through resellers, to get users to switch.
To snare market share from Dell and boost its channel presence, Sony has begun offering $500 trade-in bonuses on Dell notebooks and paying solution providers additional spiffs.
Sony’s San Jose, Calif.-based IT products group, spearheaded by its Vaio unit, is making the push through the end of the first quarter as Dell works to get back on track after two subpar quarters last year.
"I think that's actually great," said Andrew Krantz, senior account manager at Westwood Computer, a solution provider and Sony partner based in Springfield, N.J. "Anything that targets Dell is good. Dell has a unique way of stealing business, so any way we could steal business back is positive."
Sony's trade-in offer of $500 for working Dell systems eclipses the $300 it provides for trade-ins on all other systems for Vaio BX series notebooks. Sony said the rebate can be claimed by solution providers for their clients. Such a trade-in would represent a hefty discount off the price of some of the Vaio BX notebooks, which start at a street price of $1,171.
The new spiffs provide $40 cash payments per unit on Sony Vaio BX laptops. The BX series systems are targeted at the commercial space through the solution provider channel.
Both the trade-in deal and the new spiffs last through the end of the first calendar quarter, according to Sony.
"Dell is my toughest competitor," Krantz said. "They're even a tougher competitor than other resellers."
Sony is taking on Dell at a time when the PC giant, which dominates the market in terms of share and price competition, is coming off two straight quarters last year that disappointed Wall Street. Sony itself went through reorganization in its U.S. IT group in 2005, after Howard Stringer ascended to the post of global chairman and CEO of the electronics, entertainment and computer behemoth.
The move also reflects the love-hate relationship between Sony and Dell. Stringer invited Dell Chairman Michael Dell to take part in his keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, where both announced their backing of the upcoming Blu-ray Disc technology.
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