Dell sued over Chinese chip error

Consumers in China are up in arms after they bought Dell laptops that promised to support virtualisation, only to find they contained an inferior chip
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

Dell is facing legal battles in China after shipping laptops that contained a less powerful processor than was advertised.

According to reports, a lawsuit was filed against Dell by 19 consumers in the the eastern city of Xiamen. Dell is accused of shipping Inspiron 640M laptops which were said to contain T2300 chips. Instead, they contained T2300E processors, which unlike the T2300 don't support virtualisation.

An earlier lawsuit was filed against Dell in late July in Shanghai.

Faced with a consumer backlash in China, where Dell is in a tough fight with Lenovo for market share, the company has now apologised and offered a refund to those affected.

In a posting on the company's Direct2Dell Web site, Francis Kam, director of Dell's client sales support in China, admitted that Dell had shifted to the T2300E chip for some notebook models in some countries.

"In all markets of the world where we offer it, the T2300E allows us to provide a better value for customers who are not interested in virtualisation," wrote Kam. "Here's what caused the confusion: we did not update marketing materials in China prior to making the change to the T2300E processor."

As this product specification sheet from Intel shows, the T2300E is rare among Core Duo chips in not supporting virtualisation, which allows a computer to run multiple operating systems at the same time.

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