The Math Behind VA-Dell PC Deal

Dell Federal said it won a $248 million contract from the Veterans Affairs Department in a deal which names the company as the department’s “exclusive” provider of desktop computers.

Dell said under a three-year lease agreement it will provide the VA with a minimum of 249,000 of its OptiPlex desktop computers and monitors, along with a variety of professional services including deployment, asset management and removal of the PCs â€" if VA so desires â€" at the end of the contract.

The math on this deal works out to about $1,000 a box. A quick check of the Dell Web site shows if anyone wanted to buy one OptiPlex PC, the price today runs from $342 to $497 plus another $249 for a monitor and $149 for the Vista operating system.

That puts the total retail price of a Dell OptiPlex PC with software and monitor at $730 at the low end and $995 at the high-end.

I’m sure the number crunchers at the VA view their $1,000 price per box for a three-year lease with professional services thrown in makes for a good deal, but I wonder why they leased instead of buying.

Does VA throw away its computers every three years?

As a side note, Dell's latest customer satisfaction numbers -- as measured by the just-released American Customer Satisfaction Index (and look for the heading "Personal Computers: New Problems for Apple, More Problems for Dell") -- fell "to one of the PC industry's lowest scores with a 74," reported the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas, this week.