Michael Dell gets his payback, slams 'turmoil' at HP and IBM

Dell's CEO enjoyed a moment of schadenfreude at Dell World on Tuesday

A sprightly Michael Dell opens Dell World on Tuesday.

A sprightly Michael Dell opens Dell World on Tuesday.

What a difference a year makes.

For much of 2013, while Michael Dell was fighting a costly battle to take his company private, his rivals played up the distraction and did their best to lure his customers away. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Michael Dell opened the Dell World conference in Texas on Tuesday and, looking decidedly relaxed and pleased with himself, wasted no time denouncing the "turmoil" his rivals in the industry are going through.

"They're splitting away businesses, spinning off pieces of their businesses, and one has to ask the question: who is this for? Does this actually help the customers? Does it help them create the next great innovative products?"

You can't begrudge him a bit of schadenfreude. Just six months ago Meg Whitman was calling Hewlett-Packard a "paragon of stability" compared to its rivals and now she's breaking the company in two. And IBM is selling its x86 server business to Lenovo and fighting to keep its profits above water.

Dell became a private company almost exactly a year ago, and Michael Dell doesn't have to worry about those quarterly targets any more. He said that allows Dell to invest in better products and growing its business.

Dell can focus on a future that's "beyond the next quarter, the next year or the next shareholder activist," he said, perhaps thinking of Carl Icahn, who made him pay millions more to take his company private.

It also means that Dell's financial results are no longer public, so it's hard to know how its business is really doing. Dell's PC shipments grew almost 20 percent in the U.S. last quarter, Michael Dell said, faster than those of HP and Apple.

That's correct, according to IDC, though Lenovo and Acer grew more on a global basis, and Dell still trails HP in the U.S. and worldwide.

Still, Dell is clearly investing in new technologies. On Wednesday it will announce a new "converged infrastructure" system called the PowerEdge FX, he said, which combines servers, network and storage in a new design that offers "the most density in the world."

It's also investing in services, and launched the beta of a "cloud exchange" last week that will give businesses a place to select and sign up for cloud infrastructure services. He also touted recent partnerships with VMware and Microsoft's Azure for private cloud deployments.

Michael Dell isn't the most relaxed or emotive speaker as a rule and this was a candid display for him, even taking questions from reporters in the audience. His enthusiasm was tempered when someone asked him why, if Dell is growing so much, it had to lay off some of its employees this year. He said his company needed less people in some parts of the business but more in others, and that Dell is actually hiring engineers and salespeople despite the job cuts.

With Apple's Mac shipments growing fast, PCs don't look like such a dire industry to be in any more, at least compared to recent years. That's lucky for Dell, which still gets a huge chunk of its revenue from desktops and laptops, even as it tries to expand its more profitable businesses.

"We still believe the PC is how real business gets done," Michael Dell said.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesDellservershardware systemsMergers and acquisitions

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?