Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 12th Sep 2013 23:17 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

Michael Dell has the won the battle for control of the computer company that he created, after shareholders backed his $24.8bn offer to take Dell private and revive the struggling business away from the incessant pressure of Wall Street.

The vote clears the way for the huge buyout, in which Dell is working with private equity partners Silver Lake after seeing off a challenge from activist investor Carl Icahn.

Must have been hard for him to see his baby slide into irrelevance. I hope for him he can turn things around, but I'm not sure if they'll be able to - they missed the boat, and it's probably in Fiji by now.

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themwagency
Member since:
2013-03-06

that should be the new title

Edited 2013-09-12 23:39 UTC

Reply Score: 7

ezraz Member since:
2012-06-20

you beat me to it. i'll provide the footnote for the youngins in the crowd -

In 1997 when asked about what Steve Jobs should do first now that he's Apple CEO, brainiac Michael Dell said...

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."

to which Steve Jobs reportedly responded internally at Apple with several "F*ck Dell" rants. 16 years later - Jobs has passed and Apple could buy 20 Dells with their spare change. Dude!

Reply Score: 4

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

"Dell gives the money back to shareholders"

"Dell Gives Back a Fraction of Money to Shareholders" would be more precise.

Michael Dell's buyout offer comes to $13.75 a share. The market price has been as high as $14.60 this year, and was over $18.00 in 2012.

Copied this from a recent news article:

Vince Dungan, a shareholder from Elgin, Texas, said he voted against the deal as he will swallow a loss if he takes the offer. Dungan said he bought Dell shares in the $55-$65 range and would lose about $25,000 if the buyout goes through.

"If Michael Dell can turn it around as a private company, why can't he do it as a public company?" Dungan asked.


Edited 2013-09-14 18:05 UTC

Reply Score: 3

kompak Member since:
2011-06-14

That's pretty much how publicly traded companies work. If you buy your stock at a high price and the stock value goes down you loose money and vice versa. Dell is nowhere near $55-65 and will never be. If you invest in stock you just have to accept the risk. Back in 2000 Nokia share was something like 65€ and now days you don't get even 5€ per share.

Reply Score: 1

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Absolutely. Stocks go up, and they go down; it's what they do. And no way do I think Dell should be or was ever worth $50 a share. And who's to say that if the stock had remained publicly traded that it wouldn't have crashed to $5 next week.

But it still seems that $13.75 was a lowball offer that boned a lot of people, and that price cannot described as "Giving the money back to shareholders."

Edited 2013-09-17 01:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

His likely path is...?
by woegjiub on Thu 12th Sep 2013 23:46 UTC
woegjiub
Member since:
2008-11-25

How is the consensus of his future direction going?
Focus on the enterprise and servers, become a pc/tablet equivalent of nokia, or something else entirely?

Last I checked, it seemed like only apple and lenovo were doing any good in the PC space.

Reply Score: 4

RE: His likely path is...?
by tkeith on Fri 13th Sep 2013 13:00 UTC in reply to "His likely path is...?"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Good question, does anyone know? Since Microsoft is backing it, my guess is to stay in PCs. Maybe more Windows tablets and hybrids?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: His likely path is...?
by tkeith on Fri 13th Sep 2013 16:32 UTC in reply to "RE: His likely path is...?"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/13/4726518/dell-not-getting-in-mobil...

Looks like they will be making what they are now, but somehow doing a better job? Expect to see Dell's in Businesses and not much else. Maybe Microsoft will want a computer and server hardware division soon.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: His likely path is...?
by woegjiub on Sat 14th Sep 2013 04:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: His likely path is...?"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

The investment into privatisation reminded me of their pouring money into Nokia, which is why I thought they might eventually become an MS hardware arm as you suggested.

However, while there are so many PC vendors out there, and they are all licensing windows, I can't believe MS would be stupid enough to compete with them - surely there aren't *that* many desktop applications left whose functionality can't be duplicated in OSX, Ubuntu, Android, iOS or even ChromeOS to some extent (especially given the new native code app announcement).

I almost hope they do acquire them, though - MS makes pretty sweet hardware.
The Surface is great except for the battery and screen, the zune was solid, and I love their peripherals.
Seeing as how Windows 8.1 is such a great improvement over 8 and 7, it would be pretty amazing to see some sleek MS-made Win8.1 laptops out there without the vendor crapware.

(Note: I only use GNU/Linux, except where development requires windows/osx)

Given the prominence of *nix on servers, would there be benefit for them in acquiring their own server hardware division, or would it be merely killing the golden goose, with consequences like HP moving further towards HP-UX?

Edited 2013-09-14 04:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: His likely path is...?
by ilovebeer on Sat 14th Sep 2013 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: His likely path is...?"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

However, while there are so many PC vendors out there, and they are all licensing windows, I can't believe MS would be stupid enough to compete with them - surely there aren't *that* many desktop applications left whose functionality can't be duplicated in OSX, Ubuntu, Android, iOS or even ChromeOS to some extent (especially given the new native code app announcement).

You do realize there are hundreds and hundreds of millions of Windows desktops in daily use right? And hundreds of millions of Windows desktops sold each year for that matter. It doesn't really matter what can and can't be duplicated in OSX, Ubuntu, Android, bla bla. Windows absolutely dominates the very active & very relevant desktop market, where there is still tons of money to be made.

I'm curious why you included iOS in your list. Are you one of those people who think that cell phones are a real replacement for the desktop?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: His likely path is...?
by woegjiub on Sat 14th Sep 2013 22:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: His likely path is...?"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

That was the direction my thought was heading - with so many licences out there, upsetting 90% of the sellers would surely be insanity.

I included iOS because I've seen iPads replace laptops as the most common lecture taking device at uni.
Students are using them with keyboard docks, and that enables them to do essentially anything they could have done with a netbook or thin and light.
The software is not that different from windows, except that it's just always fullscreened.
Use something like the 2014 galaxy tab 10.1 with the window tiling, and I can see how it will be able to do anything a laptop can.

Reply Score: 3

Heh
by WorknMan on Fri 13th Sep 2013 00:40 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Dude, you bought Dell ;)

Reply Score: 10

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Fri 13th Sep 2013 01:16 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

They should start innovating in cloud server solutions in addition to hardware production.

Edited 2013-09-13 01:17 UTC

Reply Score: 1

The Plan
by jonnjonzzn on Fri 13th Sep 2013 02:21 UTC
jonnjonzzn
Member since:
2010-01-18

Buy back the company you ran into ground for pennies on the dollar. Sell off pieces worth more in sum than the existing flailing, unfocused whole and make billions more. The same billions lost by those who trusted you and invested in the company over the past 10 years

Pretty straight forward actually.

Edited 2013-09-13 02:26 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: The Plan
by TechGeek on Fri 13th Sep 2013 02:57 UTC in reply to "The Plan"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

So what did he do to run the company into the ground? Dell is one of the biggest names in the PC market. The fact that the market is changing really isn't his fault.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: The Plan
by jonnjonzzn on Fri 13th Sep 2013 13:09 UTC in reply to "RE: The Plan"
jonnjonzzn Member since:
2010-01-18

I'll have to assume this was sarcasm. Sarcasm doesn't always come across so well in text...

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: The Plan
by TechGeek on Fri 13th Sep 2013 14:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The Plan"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

No, I was serious. I wanted to know what you thought he did wrong. I haven't really paid that much attention to him or Dell on a financial level.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The Plan
by ameasures on Fri 13th Sep 2013 21:11 UTC in reply to "RE: The Plan"
ameasures Member since:
2006-01-09

So what did he do to run the company into the ground?


Well, now you mention it ... he followed the business school wisdom of the day: Dell outsourced production offshore (to AsusTek as I recall).

It worked well for a while with nice profits in the short term. In the medium term AsusTek became Asus and were less dependent on Dell and marketed their products directly in the western countries as Asus.

At this point Dell found themselves being cut out of the profitable parts of the picture.

Reply Score: 4

My experience
by Anonymous Penguin on Fri 13th Sep 2013 05:43 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

My only experience with Dell (Italy) is buying a 23" monitor.
It is not bad, but I got it completely "bare". Not a CD with a driver, not a manual...
I tried to get in touch with them, but they couldn't care less. Awful customer care to say the least.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My experience
by Ultimatebadass on Fri 13th Sep 2013 07:24 UTC in reply to "My experience"
Ultimatebadass Member since:
2006-01-08

To be fair, do you NEED a driver cd and a manual for a monitor?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: My experience
by aqd- on Sun 15th Sep 2013 05:12 UTC in reply to "RE: My experience"
aqd- Member since:
2009-02-16

You do need a good manual. I have a ViewSonic LED with rotatable/raisable stand, but I couldn't raise it until I found and pulled out a stick in a hole at the bottom, which is NOT mentioned in manual - that's a year after I bought the monitor.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My experience
by p13. on Fri 13th Sep 2013 07:33 UTC in reply to "My experience"
p13. Member since:
2005-07-10

You don't need a driver for a monitor. Maybe a color profile, if you're being picky.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My experience
by aliquis on Fri 13th Sep 2013 09:41 UTC in reply to "My experience"
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

My only experience with Dell (Italy) is buying a 23" monitor.
It is not bad, but I got it completely "bare". Not a CD with a driver, not a manual...
I tried to get in touch with them, but they couldn't care less. Awful customer care to say the least.
Dell got awesome costumer service and I think very few if any would disagree.

A monitor doesn't need drivers, just hook the correct cable and you're good to go. Sure I can see how they could had made a small pamplet for some on-screen menu but most of us manage such things without any instructions and if you don't do so what are you doing in there anyway? The defaults is likely good enough for you anyway..

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: My experience
by Alfman on Fri 13th Sep 2013 19:08 UTC in reply to "RE: My experience"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

aliquis,

"Dell got awesome costumer service and I think very few if any would disagree."


I've had horrible customer service from them in the past. I was actually trying to order stuff from their website in moderate quantities (16 or so hard drives for an array), but their website refused to process it saying that bulk orders had to be done through customer service. Ok, so I call their sales numbers and apparently nobody from the consumer side could take bulk orders and I didn't technically have a business at the time to open a business account. Someone eventually told me that I'd be assigned a sales rep. I was quoted a price higher than on the website, I explained this and they repriced the product accordingly and took my order and CC #. However ~10 days later I still didn't get any shipments so I called back and nobody was able to find my information in the system (even though I was given a sales number). Comically, my sales rep had gone on vacation for two weeks and forgot to register the order as completed so it never actually went anywhere. It was roughly a month between the time I placed the order and the time I actually received it from dell.

Maybe it was odd circumstances, but the way they handled it was poor. A sales manager should have stepped in and said "ok I'll take care of it" instead of playing pass the baton with me. In retrospect I should have stuck with newegg, if not from the get-go, then from the moment dell's website refused to take my order.

Incidentally, the Dell equipment I've used is actually quite good, I've been buying some of it used off ebay because their server stuff is really built to last even if it's been used.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: My experience
by BushLin on Sat 14th Sep 2013 10:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My experience"
BushLin Member since:
2011-01-26

In the UK this is Dell in a nutshell, except you didn't mention the excellent warranty service.

They don't have enough account managers / sales people, pricing seems almost random and their online configurators have nonsensical rules applied.

Businesses still go through this dance because of the quality of products and the support which comes with it but you really need to be aware of this to push through the barrier of buying the sodding stuff.

Reply Score: 3

RE: My experience
by jackastor on Fri 13th Sep 2013 13:43 UTC in reply to "My experience"
jackastor Member since:
2009-05-05

I've worked with many Dell servers, and they are decent. Getting a support guy to show up for service on a warrantied server in the field, that's another story.

We also use many Dell 30" LED screens, and they do not age well. Dell seemed to do its best work in server hardware, my impression is they put less emphasis on quality consumer machines because people tend to replace their computers after a year or two anyway.

Reply Score: 1

RE: My experience
by lucas_maximus on Fri 13th Sep 2013 19:41 UTC in reply to "My experience"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

There D series machines 2005-2007/8 ish were really solid well built business laptops.

I've literally abused the living hell out of this D430 over the years and it still works quite well and everything is in one piece. It even survived a toddler.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Fri 13th Sep 2013 07:07 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

We do business with Dell and I'm quite happy with them. They provide a wide range of excellent products.

The only thing that's perhaps a little bit sad is that all these great things are acquired. They don't develop anything themselves. AppAssure and EqualLogic were both bought for example. Other stuff, like printers and UPS units, are just rebranded devices. We have a Dell printer, when you open it it says Lexmark, which is owned by IBM. UPS units are referred to internally as APC's.

If you ask your account manager nicely he'll send you goodies. I have a Windows 2012 server baseball cap and a Dell vest, which is great if your co-worker keeps putting the airco in cryogenic mode.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by talaf on Fri 13th Sep 2013 07:24 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
talaf Member since:
2008-11-19

Yeah, the latest Dell business notebooks are actually good. I wasn't happy with the version I had 3 years ago, but the Latitude E6230 is very decent. Lightweight, awesome battery life, great performance, good keyboard (miles ahead compared to the previous lines). With a hi-res IPS screen, this would be a killer machine.

It took a while, but they got the business laptops right in the end.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by p13. on Fri 13th Sep 2013 07:35 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
p13. Member since:
2005-07-10

Rebranding and "added value" reselling. HP does it too.
Try and get a quote from dell on a compellent array. It's pretty laborious. They say they have to consult a separate "department" (in sweden or something, i believe, correct me if i'm wrong), but what's really happening is ... you're talking to the company they bought.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Lennie on Fri 13th Sep 2013 09:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

What is the real problem is, they used to make their own products. Then they outsourced some of the work to Asia. More and more parts of the production process were outsourced to Asia. Eventually even product design was outsourced to Asia, because the people in the US didn't have the knowledge about the production process.

And then other companies in Asia were created that now compete directly with Dell.

As an example organisations like Facebook buy their servers parts directly from Asia (the OpenCompute project might design certain parts though). There is a company in the US which puts them together before it arrives at the datacenter.

Companies like Dell aren't selling servers to these organisations anymore.

Dell does have a smaller server design team that tries to make custom parts for large customers now, but that is all after the fact...

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by Antares on Fri 13th Sep 2013 11:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
Antares Member since:
2013-09-13

Most of these observations are rubbish.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by CapEnt on Fri 13th Sep 2013 12:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

Running your own manufacturing operations costs a lot. And if it is American territory, it costs even more. To make worse, if you can't keep your backlog filled with orders, running a manufacturing plant can send you to bankruptcy very fast due a simple feedback loop: factories generates expenses, accumulated expenses makes hard to lower product price, unable to lower the product price makes harder to get new customer to pay the expenses.

The whole point of outsourcing to companies like Foxconn and Asus is that they can keep huge manufacturing operations running at a optimal level all the time by relying on the orders of dozens of different "design and marketing companies".

Dell had no option at all other than outsource to remain competitive while keeping a large portfolio of products. Not even a industrial behemoth like Samsung can keep themselves competitive without some degree of outsourcing.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by znby on Fri 13th Sep 2013 12:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
znby Member since:
2012-02-03

We have a Dell printer, when you open it it says Lexmark, which is owned by IBM.


Just an FYI, Lexmark are not owned by IBM, in some ways it's quite the opposite - they were formed when IBM's Office Products Division was divested and turned into an independent company.

As pointed out above, I'm not sure what the point of Dell making their own printers and UPSes would be. It would cost them a lot of money to set up production, and distract them from their core business. It also wouldn't provide any value to the customer, quite the opposite in fact given that Dell are not going to churn out as many printers as Lexmark, or UPSes as APC.

Edited 2013-09-13 12:50 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Fri 13th Sep 2013 12:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Ah, thank you for the correction!

Reply Score: 2