Meghan Sweeney, For The Miami Student

Bill Kraft helps senior Kevin Nitsche decide which computer is right for him. (SCOTT ALLISON | The Miami Student)

After experiencing service and support issues with Hewlett-Packard (HP) for two years, Miami has switched to offering Dell laptops for students, faculty and academic offices.

The Miami Notebook Program aligned with the university and changed vendors as well.

This year, Miami decided to participate in a statewide negotiation process through the Inter-University Council (IUC) to get the best price on Microsoft Windows products for the institution, according to Micah Cooper, director of Advanced Technology Partnerships. IUC price agreements allow the university to obtain exceptional discounts on quality products.

After putting out a bid, Miami found the most fiscally sound IUC price agreement was with Dell, Cooper said. The Miami Notebook Program also decided to switch to Dell because the university already planned to purchase from Dell vendors.

“Since Dell is the preferred Windows vendor for the university, we can extend the buying power to get a better price for the students,” said Joseph Martin, computer and supplies manager at the Miami University Bookstore.

According to Martin, the Miami Notebook Program has selected models from Dell’s business class that are time tested to handle the wear and tear of student life and provide the consistent, reliable performance students need. Martin said Miami Notebooks come equipped with pre-installed Miami-specific software and are bundled with the very best warranty Dell offers, which includes coverage for accidental damage.

Despite these offerings in the Miami Notebook Dell, Macintosh laptops are still more popular. Martin estimates that three Macintosh laptops were sold for every Dell laptop this year. He said the success of the Macintosh laptop could be caused by Apple’s back to school promotion of a free iPod with mail-in rebate.

Although there are only Dell and Macintosh laptops in the bookstore, HP laptops can be found receiving repairs in IT Services.

The change in vendor will not affect students who have the old HP Miami Notebook. According to Cooper, IT Services is still trained to service HP products.

Senior Ann Petrushka owns an HP and was relieved that IT Services still supports HP users.

“I was worried when I saw all the Dell computers at the bookstore because I was having problems with my HP,” Petrushka said. “IT Services was more than happy to assist me, though.”

IT Services is sufficiently trained to support HP, Dell and Macintosh products because this is not the first time Miami has changed vendors.

Dell is not a new vendor for Miami. According to Cooper, Miami used Dell for 14 years until their pricing became out of line and there was a glass shortage for LCD screens.

In 2008, Miami decided to use HP as their vendor. After a two-year run, IT Services found that it took longer to replace HP products and hard to obtain parts.

Cooper said Miami didn’t partner with a new vendor because Dell as a company has improved over the years and it would be too complicated to add three vendors into the mix.

“Student experience is the most important, so we flipped back to Dell when students were frustrated,” Cooper said. “There is no vendor that is perfect.”