Dell's new laptop "thinnest on the planet," except for Apple, that is

Dell claims its XPS-15z laptop is the thinnest 15-inch laptop on the planet. Except for the Apple MacBook Pro, which Dell specifically excluded from their comparison. Sour grapes, or bad marketing?

The Apple blogosphere is abuzz with news about Dell's new XPS-15z laptop, which it bills as 'the thinnest 15" PC on the planet.' Except it isn't. Dell specifically excluded Apple from its comparison list, and Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro is, in fact, thinner.

Dell says its claim is based on an "internal analysis" done in February, pitting the XPS-15z against laptops manufactured by HP, Acer, Toshiba, Asus, Lenovo, Samsong, Sony and MSI.

"No comparison made with Apple or other manufacturers not listed," disclaimed Dell.

That's a pretty big exception. And it turns out, Apple's laptop is thinner than Dell's, according to CNet and Engadget reviews. Why Dell excluded the MacBook Pro is anyone's guess. It's just as much of a PC as any of the others on Dell's list. After all, it can run Windows, Linux and other operating systems too.

The news has been picked up by Apple blogs around the world, especially after noted Apple champion John Gruber pointed a link to an article that ran in the Guardian, penned by Charles Arthur.

Of course, there's plenty of gnashing of teeth from Apple users who consider Dell's omission to be a personal slight against Apple.

It's the latest salvo in a battle that's been ongoing between Apple enthusiasts and the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker since 1997. Back then, Dell's founder and namesake, Michael Dell, told a throng at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Florida that he if he were in charge of Apple, "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."

It was a shocking, bold statement. And one that raised the ire of untold masses of Apple users. How dare Michael Dell slight Apple! What audacity! What did he know, anyway?

Ever since then, Michael Dell has been persona non grata to Apple users.

In fairness to Dell, times were tough for Apple back then. Steve Jobs had just returned after his company, NeXT, had been acquired by Apple. NeXT would ultimately fuel Apple's transition from "Classic" Mac OS to Mac OS X. But at the time, Apple's future was very much in doubt.

Since then, of course, Apple has had one of the great corporate rebound successes of the modern age. Its stock value has risen almost inconceivably higher than it was in 1997, and the company has ridden the success of brilliant marketing and product development campaigns, both with its Mac computers and consumer electronics devices like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Dell's market cap is one tenth Apple's. In fact, Apple could almost buy Dell just with its cash on hand. Then maybe shut it down and give the money back to Dell's shareholders. So clearly, ignoring Apple has worked out very well for the company since 1997.

It's ironic that Dell's marketing so specifically excludes Apple. Because judging from the early reviews of the XPS-15z, Dell borrowed styling and engineering cues from the MacBook Pro. So apparently not everyone at Dell has their head buried in the sand.