Dell is in trouble, as this eWeek article illustrates. They can recover. There is not any doubt about that. It is simply that selling cheap PCs is not enough to wow the masses, any more, whether they are corporate types or home users.
In the past, Dell's service was really something to crow about and they are still bragging on it, though it has gone downhill enough to elicit more complaints than praise. Dell definitely needs to fix this, pronto. Their use of remote administration is surely one step in the right direction, but is not nearly enough to reverse the trend of ill will they have generated in the last couple years. I think they know it and will take their best shot at doing better. They have to hurry, though.
And while Dell has been proud in the past that they do almost no R&D (thus saving a lot of money) they are going to have to start. Customers are demanding innovation in all but the cheapest machines. In order to meet that expectation, Dell is going to have to innovate on their own, rather than just aping features that have proven popular in other maker's lines.
The laptop battery recall isn't really their fault, but how they handle it will influence a LOT of possible customer's opinions. Dell is off to what looks like a good start, but they have to execute all the way through. They are dependent on Sony to come up with the replacement batteries in a reasonable amount of time and if there are problems Dell will have to find a second supplier....pronto. They may already have. I don't know.
Their future is in their own hands.